Are You Paying But Not Showing Up?

I got this! I looked on their website and I love all of the classes and what they offer. I even put it in my calendar to help me remember. When I first got married my hubby and I decided that we should join the gym. We went in, read the paperwork and signed the contract saying we would pay the monthly dues whether we showed up or not. We went religiously for a few months, and then we started not showing up all that regularly, and then not at all claiming many different reasons, but all really pointing to where our priorities lied at the time. We still had to pay that monthly due though. We learned it was easier to pay the dues than it was to show up.

Fast forward about a year, we didn’t show backup to the gym, instead we were able to have a friend buy our contract from us. When we signed up we really believed we could make it work, we were young, without kids and all the time in the world to do what we wanted. Our priorities were not set right though. Almost as if we bit off more than we could chew. I wish I could say that this was the last time I “paid for something and didn’t show up”. It may not have been with just money that things were paid for. More often than not it was time that was the currency, it was commitment, it was my peace.

When I was still in the mindset that I had all the time in the world, I would sign up to any and every activity or workday that my high school youth group planned. It was just something I did and I enjoyed doing whatever it was. In college it seemed time was a thing that was slowly going away even though there was still 24 hrs in the day. Work and school took a lot of time and I will admit there were nights when I really, really wanted to call in “sick” so I could spend more time with friends. Time becomes more valuable than money. Especially when it there just isn’t enough of it. Every time I get home from work I realize this fact. I end up not having enough time to listen to the different stories the kids tell me, when there is also schoolwork, dinner, and sleep. So what do you do? I actually had to acknowledge the fact that there is not enough time, accept it and then work to make the important parts of my life the priority.

This past month my daughter and I just received our “clearance” to start volunteering in the children’s ministry at church. I had to have a background check and both Tabby and I had to meet with the directors. One of the things they asked was how many Sundays did we want to work and if I wanted to teach. Tabby got off easy with being a helper. This came down to how much I wanted to commit to. My weekends are “sacred”. I finally don’t have to work on Saturdays….thanks Tawnia, so that means I have two days of “freedom” and I am being asked how much of that freedom to I want to commit to give away. Sounds easy enough except I don’t want to go down the road of “paying and not showing up”. Kids are amazing little creatures and are fun to be around as well as teach, so I committed to two Sundays a month and teaching on one of those Sundays. So far so good. It’s actually such a relief to show up and not do much of anything but be with the kids and enjoy the world through their eyes. If you haven’t tried it, your missing out of the imaginary tea you can have with your chocolate syrup balloon.

Peace all too often it can go away with the environment you find yourself in. Don’t believe me? Try waking up in the morning and while walking out to the living room to read you devotion you get asked 10 different questions in a 10 second time frame from your 10 year old son whose been up for the last half housing waiting for the whites of your eyes to show up. Nope, no peace there. Peace is a currency that can buy the most wonderful moments and can be filled with a joy that is a deep down to your soul joy. Peace is a currency you show be very careful in spending, when you give up some of your peace it should be for something very important. Sadly we tend to trade peace for worry. I am a huge culprit for this. I want to hold on to the peace I receive when I pray for my kids, my family, my marriage, but then worry comes creeping in the back door and steals from my bounty. Crazy thing is, peace also finds its way into parts and pieces of my life by just being in the moment, turning off the phone, TV, noise. Peace definitely follows and finds me in the woods, in nature. It finds me in the quiet of prayer.

Just as it is silly to pay for a gym membership and not show up to workout, it is also silly to spend your own personal currency on things and people that are not worth showing up to. I still wish I had more time, I hope that when I make a commitment people know I will stick to it, and peace is powerful. The more you have of it the more joy you will have as well. Until next time:

For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work,patience,love, self-sacrifice – no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service

John Burroughs

There Is Always Something

There is always a bill to be paid, there is always a meal to be made, or a kid that needs something even if it’s an attitude adjustment. The reality that we are always going up against something or going after some type of satisfaction, makes me notice that we are always trying to feed into life. We are never full, our thirst is never satisfied. We have been told that if we keep pursuing, keep dreaming we can obtain what we want.

I have to say I have had to come to terms with the fact that this just isn’t true. Especially when the things I would say I want are not necessarily things I can hold in my hand. I hunger and thirst for things that are not material. As a momma I hunger and thirst for my kids to know and feel love, not just from friends and family but from a future spouse, but most importantly to know and feel God’s love. I would have to play God for this to happen though, and I am far from perfect far from being that Holy. Thank goodness I can’t play that role, but it doesn’t stop me from worrying about my kids snd wanting more for them. My kid’s interests vary widely from bike riding to archery to Minecraft. Some of their interest do no line up with what I would like for them to be doing though. I had an epiphany happened last night where I would go to my lovely little ones and see if they would be willing to give up some of their less than desirable hobbies for one week to see if it changed their outlook on life just a bit. Of course I would have to make it worth their effort but I am over curious to see the results. I will admit there are days when I would love to go make to “My Little Pony” instead of Fortnite, and FNAF, but sadly I think those days are behind me which means I am holding on for dear life now, cause things just got interesting.

Do you ever notice when you try something new there is always layers that come with that? Whenever I start a new project I am hesitant to let others know about it until I know I will be able to finish it. We want people to be excited for us but are afraid that the opposite will happen. There is always something that holds us back right? What if instead we did whatever it is we are doing and we went forward no matter what other people thought. When I started to do my hospice and palliative care training I asked the veterinarians in the town first to see if they thought it would be a welcomed service. I got mixed reviews to say the least. I went forward anyways and, now that I am closed t o finishing my training I have learned from pet owners that it is a service they wished was around sooner. Part of my end game for my training is to of course use my new learned skills more often the the person in the practice I am in. It is not so easy when your role is a nurse and not the doctor, so what do you do? You keep going forward, you encourage your doctor to try a new idea, you support your pet parents and you give their pets the help they need. You push aside the naysayers and you go forward knowing that you are building up trust and respect for a service that is desperately needed. Layers, it’s always something.

Church yesterday talked about being hungry and thirsty for something, and when you realize what that “something” is you will then have the satisfaction you crave. The world says that “something” could be anything you set you heart to. The Bible says that “something” could only be Christ. So when you are a momma like me, you have to put your kids lives in Christ’s care. When you are looking to do something more for people you have to put that in Christ’s care. If you want to find satisfaction in your life with the people and events involved you have to put your trust in the One who cares. I wish life was easy, I know it’s never going to be. I want to have the right answers, I want peace, I want to have things the way I want them. Oh how selfish. I should be more selfless. I should let Christ be in control, and have more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. That is a tall order. It’s even harder when others around me are not striving to have those things. I am so very thankful that I am told this in Matthew 11:28:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

And in Isiah 40:31:
But those who wait on the Lord shall nenes their strength;  They shall mount up on wings like eagles, They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Bees and Flies

Sweet vs. Garbage

Did you know that being nice will get you further in life than being nasty? Not everyone wants to hear what they have done wrong, or that they don’t match up to your expectations. While it has been hard in the last year and and half to show a smile behind the mask, it is still appreciated and can be “heard” in your voice and “seen” in the eyes. Bees have the lucky job of going from flower to flower to pick up pollen to bring back to the hive in which it will eventually be made into honey. Bees are hard workers and do all they can for the health of the hive and the queen. On the flip side, we have flies. I have yet to hear of a good work flies do other than their larva helping with the decaying process of dead beings. Normally we are swatting them away from our food, hoping that we don’t get them in the house, and can tell when garbage is around based on the amount of flies nearby. One helps with pollination and ultimately life, while the other deals with garbage and decay. They both exists in the same areas but if they could talk you would not hear the bees explaining to the flies why honey is better than garbage. They each just do what they do.

Wouldn’t that be nice if we as people could do that? Spread goodness and life around like pollen, and let the nastiness and negativity be blown with the wind. I met a client for the first time the other day. I was told he could be a little gruff and that he would appreciate that I have a title. I prepared myself for a grumpy guy, but found that I was just up against a guy who just wanted to see a smile. He was tired of the masks, he was tired of the separation that was becoming the new normal. He just wanted a person that smiled at him, showed respect, and knew that his dogs meant a lot to him. I will say it was very nice to be able to give him all that he wanted. After the appointment he thanked me for doing what I did. I was a happy little “bee” at that moment.

I will admit it is hard sometimes to remember the good, when a bad situation happens. I remember being told that I could have a day of good things, good thoughts, good actions, all be tossed to the wind by just one person doing something negative. It’s like stepping in poop, or getting gum on your shoe, it just sucks the joy out. It’s like a fly landing right in the middle of your dinner. You know in the back of your mind it probably was on that same poop pile you stepped in earlier, which then really makes you not want to eat the dinner you just prepared….ugh! See how it can be hard to look for good when bad can happen so quickly? This though is where you have to choose. Do you want to be a bee or a fly?

My last blog post Wildflowers talks about how wildflower bloom where they are. Most of the time it’s the bees helping them to pollenate and spread. Busy little bees help us have flowers, fruits, veggies. They have a purpose, they spread life, they create such a positive feeling, because of what they represent. They are too busy to be idle, they mind their business but if I were to see a bee as a human, I would see a happy hard working person. Someone who doesn’t need or want to have negativity around them or come from their mouths. On the flip side, flies would be the crotchety, nasty person who wakes up in a bad mood and has to make sure everyone knows it. I have a friend that just lights up when she talks about her bees. She is a bee keeper and has 4-5 hives in her backyard. She makes sure that her bees are healthy and have a good place to call home. Now if instead the bees were flies, I don’t think my friend would light up as quickly. I think instead she would be working hard to find the source as to why their are flies all around her area.

Ok so what does this all have to do with living joyfully? Well I would think it would be obvious. Don’t be a fly! Don’t be negative, don’t eat crap, don’t hang around things/people that cause you to feel less alive inside, don’t bug people, instead strive to be like a bee. Work hard, take pride in your home, be devoted to your loved ones, spread life, buzz around to the flowers and enjoy life. We have had a tough year and a half so far, we were never told life would be easy. You can choose the attitude you want to have about the circumstances you are currently in. If you don’t like something in your life, whether it’s a book, or the way you think about yourself, work to change it? Search for the flowers, search for the places where you can bloom and spread joy. After all, it’s what will ultimately help you grown. I loved that I was able to smile at the client I had. I loved that I could talk about his dogs, and that I accidently called his mom his wife (it wasn’t clarified in our system), we laughed about it and moved on. I feel more alive when I am joyful, when I am positive, when I can smile at someone. How about you? Until next time:

And the dandelion does not stop growing, because it is told it is a weed. The dandelion does not care what others see. It says, “One day, they’ll be making wishes upon me.”

B. Atkinson

It Looked Sweet

I tend to have fruit everyday. Actually I should re-state that. I eat apples almost always, with a mix of strawberries, rainier cherries and pineapple thrown into the meal plan when they are in season. I will admit that I am somewhat of an apple snob too. I really only like Jazz apples, and will eat others only when my son so nicely brings some home from the school lunches. Jazz apples have that tart but sweet taste and are the perfect amount of yummines, until you bite into a bad one. Have you had that happen? It looks perfect on the outside but there is this bruise that is waiting right under the surface, and you have just taken a huge bite right into it….yuck! It just takes the joy out of eating the apple. Even worse when it’s a strawberry or when you start cutting a pineapple up and it’s mush, gross!

Sadly we can be like my apples. We put on our happy faces, our put together pictures on Instagram, and we go throughout our days not letting on that we are not ok. Our skin looks good, our smiles are perfect but then if we are honest we know that there is a meltdown hiding right below the surface. I am a master at the “I got this”. and the “it’ll get done, even if I have to do it myself” sayings. I can keep up the pace for quite a while and then something small happens and the surface gets broken and I end up not ok. At that point all it takes is for someone to ask if I’m ok, or say something slightly off and I am a pile of tears. The imperfection shows through the skin and the blemish is seen.

I am a frustrated crier. Let me tell you, people around me don’t know what to do with me, when I am in a frustrated crying session. It’s like a dam breaking and the water that was held back rushes forth and takes out everything in its path. All that’s left is the destruction. A good friend of mine went through a frustrated cry with me recently. I had a hard time dealing with a situation I was going through and little things kept piling up, to the point that I broke one day. My friend was innocently in my path. She wasn’t even a part of the situation I was dealing with, but she gracefully listened to me as I fell apart. In a flash I was done, I collected myself and I was able to go on with my day. My friend was luckily no worse for wear. She remained calmed, let me cry and then allowed me to just be, to calm down, to see that life still goes on and that I will be ok again.


We all have something that lies just below the surface. For some it’s an addiction, for others it’s pain or hurt, the list can go on and on. The assumption is that we are ok because the imperfection isn’t seen at first glance. Like biting into a bad part of the apple, seeing others as bruise and broken isn’t fun, but realizing that the imperfection might not be all the way through helps us to see that there can still be good parts to both the apple and people. I wish so much that my go lucky puppy Charlie could see this. I came home today (actually this happens every day I come home from work) and since I was wearing my work clothes, Charlie started barking at me. I spoke kindly to her, I reached down to pet her, heck I even let her smell me, just to let her see it was me: mom. Charlie was not having it! A few minutes later though, when I had changed out of my work clothes, she was a different dog. She ran up to me, sniffed me, let me pet her and decided then and there I was a good person. It’s amazing what happens when the outer shell comes off. In Charlie’s eyes I was a very bad apple. I was there to take her soul, until I changed. Same person different look.

Did you know that some companies actually put a sort of film on the apples to make them look shinier and more appetizing? Did you know that eating an apple a day probably won’t keep the doctor away but it can help in getting rid of the crap in your life….literally. Apples are so good for us, the have fiber in the skin to help keep us regulated, they have natural sugars, and vitamins, they are also good for our hearts. These benefits are great, but one bad apple, one bad bite and the apple is thrown away no matter the benefits. What if instead we saw the bad, but chose to eat around it, to cut it out? We could do that with people too. I don’t know about you but I am far from perfect. I would hate knowing that someone decided not to get to know me or be around me because they saw my blemishes, my “bruises”, and yet I know I have done that to some people. See, not perfect. I will leave you with this saying I saw on Instagram. I wish I knew who said it but unfortunately it didn’t say. Until next time:

Butterflies cannot see their wings, but the rest of the world can. You. You are beautiful and while you may not see it, we can.

Wildflowers

Here in the town I live in we have a lot of sunshine. We also have random weather patterns where it is hot, the sun is shining and then it’s not. It is snowing and blowing. It can be quite annoying when trying to decide what to wear. These weather patterns have caused destruction, they have caused mayhem, and they have caused this girl to want to stay home under a blanket, but low and behold I step out into start the day.

On one such day, as I was driving to work and I started to notice the wildflowers in the fields. As I arrived at work these beautiful poppies had popped up almost overnight. They were these big beautiful orange glowers. They had overtaken the grassy area we have near our parking lot. The day started warm and sunny and by lunchtime the wind was blowing and rain was falling, and yet these poppies stood strong. The thing about these flowers is they are resilient while in the ground, once picked and taken from the environment they do not last very long at all. They would not make a good lasting flower in a vase. When you look at this flower it doesn’t care that it pops up near a parking lot or in a field. A seed was planted, it was nourish with nutrients in the soil, the sun warmed it up and the rain watered it. All it could do was grow. If the seed all of a sudden chose not to do what it naturally should do, it would pass away. Wildflowers grow where the seeds land. I have seen a flower thrive in a crack in a driveway. I have seen fields of wildflowers in the forest. I have cherished a handful of flowers given to me by one of my kids. Wildflowers in the simplest form can show us how to live.

Wildflowers come in all shapes, colors and strengths. They grow where they grow, some are resilient, while others last a day. When a field of wildflowers is found there is a rainbow of colors that are vibrant and pure. Even the flowers seen as weeds are beautiful. No matter the weather they grow and spread. Certain flowers are visited by the bees more, but they all benefit from the visits. If the flowers were people there would be no worries or cares seen or felt. The glowers are just there.

The worth of the flower is seen by the beholder and even more so by the creator. What if we were to become like the wildflowers. We grow where our seed was placed. Picture each morning you wake up and instead of thinking of the worries of the day you stretch and you soak in the moment of being awake. It’s like the flower turning its face to the sun to soak in all the warmth and strength of the rays. As you prepare for your day trusting that your needs will be met, that ultimately you are not in control, but you can trust that the one who created you is. The wildflowers never worry about when and where they will get the nutrients they need to survive, instead they grow and live, the bees pollinate, the sun provides its rays and the rain gives of its drops. How much more are we cherished by God as His loved ones, than the wildflowers that fade away? What if like the wildflowers we let our colors shine through? What if we grew and flourished no matter what our environment, or who we are around? Just like the wildflowers that grow in the fields around where I live, they have to survive the ever changing weather patterns. They have to be sturdy enough to survive. They grow in areas that can be harsh and rocky. Some have to grow next to trees that shade out the sun, while others are in a cluster of crops. The flowers did not get to choose where they sprouted, they did adapt and grow. How much more could we do in the same situations?

We can’t help the storms that pass over us, and sometimes consume us. We have to want to grow and flourish. Joy will come, and we will be able to turn our faces upwards. I was talking to a friend who found out that she soon she will have to take on being the caregiver for her momma who has dementia. This friend reminds me so much of the poppy’s in my work parking lot. She is bright and cheerful, and just the thought of her brings a smile to my face. She is struggling though, the storm she is in is taking a toll on her heart. She wants to be there for her sweet momma but she also needs nourishment for herself. The rain is great, but sunshine is needed. She is trusting in God though and knows she needs to bloom where she is planted. She is looking for and finding help for herself. She knows that even when she feels like she can’t grow anymore, God will provide the strength she needs. She is working on being a beautiful wildflower.

On those stormy days when I want to stay home covered in a blanket, yeah on those days I pray for strength and I decide to show up. I want the storm to pass, I want the cold to leave my bones (literally, why does it always have to be so cold 3/4 of the year?!?), I want someone else to take the burden. I also want to trust more, lean on God more, and know that when it comes to my life I really am not in control. When God looks at me He sees the wildflower, just as I see the wildflowers on my way into work. Though I know I am more precious than a flower, to know I am in God’s garden is all I need to keep blooming. How about you? Until next time:

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow or reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  So why worry about clothing?  Consider the  flowers of the field, how they grow: they neither toil or spin, and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   Matthew 6:25-29

It’s All In The Name

It’s so interesting how many names are found in the Bible. Half of them I couldn’t even begin to try and pronounce. Some names are followed by a story that explains who the person is, while others are just mentioned and then seem to fade away into the text. Some names that are popular and come with great stories would be Moses, and Noah and even Esther. These people were far from excellent or special. They were average people doing everyday things that God chose to add to His story. In God’s great glory He decided that He would use people who were not perfect. They were tax collectors, people with speech impediments, and liars to unfold the story.

How wonderful it was that perfect people were not used in the Bible. It would make it very hard for me to follow or even use in my life. I have such a hard time with people who think better of themselves than they should, or who seem to have to let people know of the things they do. This is probably why I get so mad at myself when I do these things. Last week in my blog “Ooops I Did It Again!” I talked about how badly I wanted affirmation, I felt the need to prove myself. Not realizing that I already have a name in Christ: daughter

I absolutely love starting a conversation with “Hello Friend!” For some it makes them pause, while most others going forward with a smile that is a little bit brighter. It’s about naming the person as a friend. I figure even if they are not a friend right at the moment, by me saying what I did it opens up the possibility. Just the opposite can happen with a bad name , but if we are to live joyfully we don’t need to go there.

A name can say so much about who you are. It call tell of your background. It can tell of your heritage. It can tell of your occupation or if you are great (Caesar the Great). It can even let people know if you are a parent (Hey that’s Tyler’s mom!). But does the name you carry make you the person you are? Does it describe what’s inside your head? Heart? I am coming to a point in my life where all I want is for my name to bring a smile to someone’s face, for someone to think about me and have no drama attached to their thoughts. I want to know that I was a humble and peaceful person, but I also realize that drama tends to find its way into everyday life, and do I want to fall back to the one who alone can carry me, who makes me who I am: Christ.

How about you? What’s in your name? What is attached to it? Does it make you who you are? I hope that as you go through life you realize that it’s not “all in the name”. Until next time:

Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you

Dr. Seuss

Oops! I Did it Again

There are some pretty amazing women in my life.  I really have no reason to complain.  In all of God’s glory He knew that my head and my heart needed strong women to help me grow and become who I am.  This week I think I needed one of those strong women to knock me on the side of my head and tell me to “Cut it Out!”

I have this really bad habit of pushing myself, and trying to prove to people that I can do it.  I can take on anything that is in front of me and accomplish it.  I pride myself in thinking ahead, in trying to see what is next.  Am I ready?  Is the area around me ready?  Have I done all I can do?  And then there is this little voice in my head (and heart, actually) that whispers “will they notice?”  Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what I am doing, whether at work, at home, and at play, and I don’t need the validation of the world, no it seems that the validation I crave is of those around me.   When it comes from the people I admire, then I know it means something right?

I can wholeheartedly say no!  Though it feels good to get an “atta girl” or a “ I respect you highly”, they end up still being words in my parched heart.  The women that have said these things to me, mean what they say, and I say them right back to them, but they move on to other things and I feel as if I have to prove myself all over again just to get that response again.  A couple of nights ago I was helping my doctor with an emergency surgery at work.   We worked in fluid motion, I knew my part and she knew hers.  As we were finishing up, I was thinking ahead as to what this patient would need for the following day and into the next few weeks to be comfortable after surgery, literally thinking five steps ahead.  The doctor had lied down to rest (since the emergency was in the middle of the night), and I was finishing up the bill, so that I could head home.  I was tired of course, but the next morning the first thing I talked to my hubby about was how the surgery went, to say the patient was doing well, and how I did well at thinking ahead and man I hope the doctor approves.  “What?!? Really?!?”  I cringe as I write this out.  I needed validation that badly?  

Yeah, I think I really did.  Ya all know that I am a Christian and I know that my worth is found in the fact that I am a child of God.  It is hard sometimes to remember that though, when it is so much easier to get instant validation and praise from people around you, even better when it is from people you admire and respect.  Once again cringe as I write that.   The one person I should admire and respect above all others is the one that I tend to look to last for validation and praise.  I know that comes from a selfish desire to be seen, even when I say I don’t want to be seen.  Colossians 3: 23 says: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”.  

It’s a strange and tiring thing when you want to elevate yourself, even just a little, and try to become the center of the world you have created.  It is so much easier to take the gifts you have been given, ask God’s blessings on them so that they may be used to help others.  Validation is great but it is like those dandelion poofs that once placed in the wind quickly blow away.  The praise feels good in the moment, but then once it’s said and gone, the thrill of the chase begins.  My lovely husband thankfully stepped in and reminded me that my worth doesn’t come from getting praised.  My worth comes from knowing that I am who I am.  I am loved no matter what, and I know that I don’t have to prove myself to anyone.  The cliché saying is true:  My worth comes from knowing I am loved and a child of God.

When I sit back and slow down, I realize that the times when I feel I need to be “seen and heard” by the people around me, those are during times when I am the busiest.  They are found in the times when I haven’t made time for myself.  I haven’t made time to read my Bible, to pray, to just sit and listen.  I start my weeks off in a sprint fashion just to make it to the end of the week exhausted, telling myself I have accomplished so much.  I did my job well, I exercised, I studied, I mommy-ed well, I was there for my husband, on and on.  Nowhere in there did I rest well, pray more, or talk to God first.   I think, no I know if I would have put God first and all of the other things after I would have a peace, I would have done all of the things I do, not for myself or others but for Christ.   So I will try this week, to put God first, me second, and I will focus on what is ahead and not what is going on around me.  Until next time:

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training.  They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step.  I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.    Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT

What’s In A Meeting?

Meetings come in all different sizes, shapes and topics, and names. Gatherings, lunch dates, parties, are all meetings, and they are cause different reactions, and responses. My favorites of course are the ones that involve friends and family.

Yesterday was a gathering of great minds. I actually felt as though I was the third wheel but not. I had lunch with two amazing ladies that have lived good lives but not always easy. They had knowledge and wisdom that surpassed my mind, and I loved to hear them talk, and remember back when they were younger momma’s. We ate lunch together, we laughed together and then we promised to meet up in a few weeks to do it all over again.

Other meetings I have been in have been informational, a place for me to learn new skills, practice those skills snd then get tested on them so that I can do more for the patients I deal with. These meetings are not always very fun, and there have been a few times when my family took pictures of me asleep due to the videos I have watched.

When I first started in the vet field, my boss would do evaluation meetings once a year. These meetings were epic, usually they included lunch and lasted about an hour, and have had so many accounts of people leaving their evals in tears. Sadly the meetings would be a years worth of good and bad things you did, and would have the bad be discussed more than the good. After going through these types of meetings for years, it’s hard to get out of your head that all work meetings are not bad.

My good friend noticed the stress I was allowing to press on me before a work meeting I had. She brought it up to me and simply stated, you know this meeting is a meeting with friends, yes you may be the employee but you are a friend first. I knew the meeting would have constructive criticism, but I also knew it would be given to me in a caring way. The stress felt was self inflicted. I have this inate drive to be the best I can be, and to not mess up. I don’t like when I get overwhelmed, and then to have to give criticism to someone else means possible conflict, no thanks! The other issue is the fact that I don’t feel like I have a right to complain, I mean others have done what I am doing and have done it just fine, why can’t I? Well of course, so much of this is based on the fact I am comparing myself to someone else. I am also comparing this work meeting with the only example of a week meeting that was bad. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. The people in my current work meeting I respect highly, and I know they only want the best for me as well as the business. That in itself is the difference.

So then what to do going forward? Meetings are always going to happen. Enjoy where you can, and chose to not allow the bad to create future stress. My work meeting went well. We talked about areas that need improvement. We talked about areas that are in need of streamlining, but mostly we came together with the same purpose of being better, and trying to help others be better too. I hope that each time a meeting like this happens that I will start to replace the memories of the past work meetings with the outcomes of these present meetings. Until next time:

“Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:10‬ ‭

Happy Birth…I Mean Mother’s Day

This weekend was a doozy.

It all started about three weeks ago when I had my birthday. It’s right about that time that my son starts to plan his birthday, thus pushing my birthday out of his brain entirely. I totally get it though, he is gonna be in the double digits, he can actually have friends over this year and he just got a taste of the fun of Escape Rooms. We as a family try and do something as a family on Sundays. The activity could be as simple as a board game or a little more involved like going somewhere fun. I had been told by a friend of mine that the escape rooms are fun , so we decided to try one out. A half hour later after the pirates codes were solved and the treasure found the kids were hooked. Tyler knew that day what he wanted to do for his birthday. We booked the zombie room, he made invitations up, gave them out and we waited until this weekend.

I am not one for zombies or jump scares for that matter and when we inquired about the zombie room we were told both of those are involved, so being the ever loving wife I volunteered to sit in the lobby while the hubby, our son and his three friends did the room. I figured there had to be at least one adult to be there if someone got scared enough in the room and needed to have a break. The plan was set, the friends all met us at the escape room address, the parents left……and we waited. It was two hours after when we heard back from the people than organize the rooms. Luckily we hadn’t paid yet, but the boys were disappointed. No escape room happened, but luckily we were saved by laser tag! This time I just volunteered to sit and wait while the hubby and the boys went and shot at at each other. I figured it was my gift to myself since it was also Mother’s Day weekend😉😉

Which brings me to this wonderful holiday celebrating us mommas. I don’t care what what kind of momma you are called just as long as you love your kids, and only want the best for them. I have wonderful friends who are pet moms, aunts who step in as mommas, grandmas who do the same. Single mommas, tired mommas, whatever your role, enjoy your day. I usually spend my momma’s day, celebrating my youngest child. Not really intentional it just works out to have a birthday party on the weekend rather than week day. This momma’s day was no different other than having extra dark circles under the eyes from having 3 extra kids in the house, OVERNIGHT. Yep, we thought, what the heck, let’s plan an escape room party, then feed pizza a cake, while also keeping them overnight. If I liked wine I would be drinking it still. Maybe it was a blessing that the zombie escape room fell through. Laser tag will make kids tired right?

Cake, more cake, pizza, candy and Gatorade (gotta have something slightly healthy right?) made Tyler’s night. We rented a movie for the boys and with the sugar high decreasing we did finally get some rest, though I did have an extra helping of Spark to get me through the rest of Sunday. Man though what a weekend, it was a doozy! We learned that having plans is great, but being flexible because a part of the plan fell through is important. We learned that 4 boys playing together is nuts, there are disagreements to be sorted out, and food to be served, just so you can send them right back outside to play. We learned that our son has a weird mean side where he asked us to mix the skittles and m’n’ms in the same bowl for his party.

I love being a mom, even with all of the challenges that come with it. I love that I can share my day with my son’s day, and that he gets to have the attention on him. I pray over my kids daily and sometimes hourly. I have some things about my kids that make me want to pull out my hair, and I love I have prayer warriors that pray with me about those things. I miss that my girls don’t snuggle with me any more and I cherish the times my son will. I hope that my kids know how much they are loved, even if there are blow up moments. I hope this Mother’s Day you celebrated it with your momma or a woman that was a momma figure in your life. Until next time:

To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.”

Maya Angelou

Friendships

Quality over quantity

When you look in the dictionary the definition of friendship is this: It is a state of being friends: friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons; affection arising from mutual esteem and good will. This sounds so stagnant, unliving, flat. Who would want to have a friendship if it really was based on the definition? Luckily friendships are living and breathing, they have an ebb and flow. They are based on the stupid stuff you did last summer, the fun trip you took to the fair, the impromptu lunch date. Some friendships are there for a specific season and others are there for a lifetime. Friendships start to take on a living form like breathing in and out. To have that best friend that we can relay on for anything is just as important as having a group of best friends that do most everything together. What makes friendships last is the quality of the relationship. I had been talking to a client (who is also a good friend) today about the fact that with age our friend groups seems to stop growing in numbers but instead start growing in importance. We noticed that we may not see our friends all of the time but when we do see them the amount of time spent with them seems longer. What hit me when we talked about this was the fact that I had gone to this friend’s house to help her dog with some pain issues, which maybe took me 15 minutes to do, the other 30-45minutes was spent talking with this wonderful lady. Which then made me think of this other friendship that I have, this is how it has been a part of my life:

A few years back (about 38 years to be exact) there was these two little girls. They both went to the same school but different kindergarten classrooms. They played with each other on the playground and sat near each other at storytime. They were friends. Fast forward a couple of years, these same two girls, not always in the same classes in school but will still find each other on the playground to play and introduce each other to some other kids that would become part of their friend group. These two girls did elementary school together, middle school and high school. They had friends come and go from their friend group, but they made sure to always be friends. Their friendship worked so well because they needed each other. One was outgoing, beautiful inside and out, energetic and willing to try new things. The other was equally beautiful inside and out, but was much more reserved, relied on her outgoing friend to make friends and was more than willing to be the behind the scenes type of person. When high school finished they went their separate ways for college but still stayed in touch. Each girl visited the other in their respective colleges and when it was finally time to settle down in a town though they were far apart from each other, they would visit and have those type of phone calls that would last for hours. The quality of this friendship was so good and strong, that the two ended up living in the same town, living like sisters, blessed with the fact that their kids call them aunts. It’s a lifetime friendship.

Now I cannot talk about friendships without bringing my sister into the discussion. I realize there are those out in the world that have never had the privilege of having a relationship so strong that to live without it would be almost impossible. So other than my husband who is my best friend and God who is my only friend I can trust 100%, my sister is the one person that knows everything about me. To be honest I think she even knows when I burp funny. She and I are different in so many ways that in the end that is what makes us get along so well. Her opinion matters to me, but I love to get her riled. When we both want to do the same thing, I find it is my ultimate duty to make sure she knows that it is a competition and there will be trash talk happening. When I had a very hard time at work, I knew that she would talk me through it. I love that my oldest daughter is a mini version of my sister. I love it more that my sister says my middle child is a mini version of me. My sister and I have not lived in the same state in over 20 years but we talk to each other weekly. It’s a lifetime friendship.

The friendships that can stand the test of time are the best for sure but there are also those friendships that see you through a season in your life. Once that season is over, the person quietly steps back but is still a friend, moves to the category of lifetime friendship, or fades to the background because of changing circumstances. These are not bad friendships, to be honest they are some of the best kinds because you learn and grow from these friendships in ways you might not realize with a friendship that has been ongoing for years. When my husband and I were in our first years of parenthood, we worked opposite shifts so that the kids could have one of us at home with them, but there were times that our schedules would overlap and we would have to have someone babysit. We were blessed with being introduced to a lady we to this day still call Grandma Judy. She took our kids whenever we needed her to and she would take them even when we didn’t. She and her husband loved our kids like their own grandkids. In our minds they were family. As our kids grew older they were able to be at home by themselves more so Grandma Judy started to move out of the picture more, but not out of our hearts. Today we don’t see Grandma Judy much, but the friendship we have with her and her husband is still strong. She was there for us during a season in our lives when we really needed her, we were blessed by her and her husband. She is a lifetime friend.

What kind of friend are you to the people around you? To that end I ask myself what kind of friend am I to those who I know? Making a friendship work and last a long time takes work, love, and dedication to each other. We were not made to be alone in this world. We were made for relationships. We were made for community. Even the most introverted person has his/her “people” that make up the tribe. Remember we are who we hang out with so we might as well make it count. Until next time her is a song that has been special to me and my lifelong friends for so many years:

No! Not Right Now

Ok I get when it comes to intermittent fasting there are times when you don’t eat, obviously.  When I was looking through the schedule my BodyFast App had given it said no eating Sunday morning.  Do you know how hard it is to not have your stomach growl while you are sitting in church, a relatively quiet place?  Add on top of it all the fact that your daughter keeps looking at you each time your stomach growls, and your friend who wanted to try out your church is sitting on the other side of you.  I will admit that even the water I kept trying to drink as much as I could didn’t help the situation, it just made me have to go to the bathroom more.  There was no ignoring this problem I was having. 

A decision was made at that point, I would need to either eat before the church service next week or acknowledge that my stomach was gonna do what it was gonna do and I would apologize to the people around me later.  Luckily my friend, whether she was being gracious or not, said she couldn’t hear the roar that was coming from me.  My daughter, well she just stated it wasn’t her problem and maybe next time I should eat.  I think I like my friend more than my daughter right now😆.    I chose to fast because of all the good that comes from it, the autophagy, the ketosis, the elevated energy levels, and most of the time I can work through the hunger, it’s when it is a quiet setting that I wish I was a glutton and had stuffed myself full of food.

Yesterday I sat in my living room with most of my family around me, I love the feeling I get from just being near to them.  I am distracted often, and I could be done quicker with my tasks if I just moved from my rocking chair to the cushy chair in my room but then I wouldn’t get to see the Charlie dog sleeping, the hubby and son on the couch interacting with each other, or the daughter slightly smile as she reads a tweet from a person she is following.  These are small things, but since I am gone a lot during the week, they turn into big things for me.  It is a decision that is good for my soul. 

Life is back to normal today.  I have a day full of appointments, I have texts/phone calls to answer and clients to talk to.  When I decided to go into this field, I knew it would be exhausting but fulfilling, that it would push me to my limits, just to help me grow.  The decision was a good one, and it has benefited both me and my family, but because of this same decision I also agreed to less time with my loved ones, which is painful at times.  A yes to one decision, means a no to another.  Just like with intermitted fasting, I have discomforts that must be dealt with, even when I am becoming a stronger person and my family is taken care of.  While I was sitting at church trying to quiet my stomach, I was told about Christ, and how He is not just my redeemer later when I pass on, but He is my redeemer in the present.  He shows up, He is a strong and mighty tower. 

Jesus was a man of decisions.  He was not one who was wishy, washy.  A lot of what he did ruffled feathers and made people mad, but he would do them anyways.  He also found time to enjoy the people and things around him. Life was not easy, but he celebrated with people at the dinner table, he went to social events, he cried with people and he made time to be by himself.  He was a powerful, but humble person.  Oh to be like Him, I mess up a lot, and I don’t claim to be perfect.  I make decisions every day to be better with my health, with my family, with my faith, at my job.  Every day I fail, but everyday there is something I find to be thankful for and to stand for.  My friend needed to know what church I went to, she didn’t need me to be there for her to go (actually she was there before my family and I got there) but it helped her to be more comfortable.  My family doesn’t need to have me at the house all of the time, but it’s good when I am home, my job can definitely function without me, but I am so glad that they choose to have me.  So many times, I make a decision to follow through with it and then look back and think about the many ways it could have gone wrong.  I act and then process.  I have a friend who made a decision that would be so good for her, but because of the environment she is in, decided to hold back on the idea and just try and get by.  When the joy of the moment, of the outcome is noticed and felt, the road may be hard, but the adventure is worth it.  Joy is present in all decisions; it may not be noticed.  Joy is the strength that is felt when life is hard but worth it.  Joy is what is built when a decision is made, and a step is made in the right direction.  When you don’t make a choice, the choice has been made without you.    Until next time:

It is usual that little streams put their mouths into big rivers. Most rivers can also be traced to the big sea. The fact that you start with a small choice does not mean you will be on that narrow road forever.”

Israelmore Ayivor

The Beauty of Life

You know the saying: “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone?” 

As I am sitting here writing my midweek post, I am sitting in the middle of my living room, my buddy Jorj is laying on the ottoman in front of me, my hubby is doing his homework, my girls are on their respective electronic devices, my son is at church and my not so little puppy Charlie is going around to each one of us trying to figure out who is going to play/snuggle with her.  Right now my house is calm and happy.  This is not the norm (at least the calm part).  We are usually pretty happy or at least content with the vibe of the household.  It’s amazing to me how fast these moments go, as you are in them you don’t realize that they will be gone so quickly though.  It’s times like these where it’s nice to sit back rock my rocking chair and enjoy the joy that comes from this time.

I feel like I am being a bit melancholy, these last two weeks have been a bit tiring and overwhelming.  But in the times when I felt I needed something to change my course of thought, I get a phone call from a friend, a hug, or as I wrote about in last weeks blog “A Hug and a Toy” a car thrown at my head (no I don’t know the strongest man in the world, just a little sprite of a boy who wanted to have fun with me).  Last night I got to see a very special friend.  This lady was there for me when my family was growing.  She stepped in, barely knowing me and decided to love me, my hubby and my kids from babyhood to the present.  The best part about this gal is that her love knows no bounds, and her family is the same way.  Last night I got to see her because of a very sad situation, and once again Judy took control in a very gentle way and allowed her niece to cry on her shoulder, and when she could no longer be in the place she was in Judy helped her up, and led her into her home.   Her niece had to say goodbye to a friend that got her through the thick and thin of life with sweet snuggles and gentle kisses.  As we were leaving all she could say was how she would never see her friend again.  I not only cried with her as a friend, I cried knowing the feeling of permanent loss.

Then I got to thinking about the saying I started this post out with.  Yes we may not know what have until it’s gone, but once the grief starts to lessen, even slightly the memories will start to surface.  I know with my friend that she and her pet went on adventures.  He was there while she worked.  There will be joy found in her heart once the pain weakens.  It’s time like this when I am reminded that I take a lot of things for granted.  Everyday there is something or someone who could bring a smile to my face, if I would stop to really see what is around me.  My sister is on vacation this week, and what does she do?  She sends me a picture of what she is seeing as she sits and looks out her window.  That brings me such joy in knowing that she is enjoying herself in such beauty.  Every morning when I let our puppy Charlie out of her crate, I have about 1.5 milliseconds to hop back into my bed and get covered before she is on the bed doing everything in her power to lick us and say good morning.  My daughter love to play this horse computer game and when I got home last night the first thing she did was shove the headset into my hands so that I could listen to what the rider of her horse does every time she jumps (the rider throws her arms out and yells “Wheeeeeeeee!!!”).  Just in case you have been following me, this is the same daughter who spends majority of her day when she is home in her room.  We barely see her.  I will take what she gives me 😁

When life is overwhelming, I have a choice to let it take over or let joy come out.  The most I can tell you is this, we will always have hard times, we will always have trials, and times of being in over our heads and overwhelmed.  I have been with a lot of people over the years who have had to say goodbye to their beloved pets, and the main takeaway I get from each and every one of those times is that they were so thankful that they got to share their life with their pet.  I love hearing the stories they tell, and I hope that by telling their stories that they can see that there was joy.  My house is still quiet.  The people in my house have changed their positions (the animals are still where they were when I started), but I am still enjoying the moment.  I am enjoying being interrupted by my kids or my husband because I know that I will miss this when it is gone.  I love that when someone gets home Charlie does everything in her power to whip her face with her own tail because of how excited she is to see the person.  I love the joy in the moment even if I get the weird “oh great, I get to do the dishes” look from my son.   I would love to bottle up these moments, these interruptions, these sad but joyful times.  There isn’t really any way to fully preserve them, and so I think we will always deal with not knowing what we have until it’s gone.  I know that is how life is, but we can choose to coat the memories that we do keep with a healthy amount of joy, because in doing that we will be reminding ourselves that joy comes and with it comes the ability to keep on living.  Until next time:

And joy comes with the morning. But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. ( Proverbs 4:18) Joy comes in the morning. It doesn’t mean tomorrow. It’s not a formula that promises that you’ll feel happy at sunrise. It’s a promise that will come true when God’s sunrise breaks.

How Do They do It?

They always seem so content

My bestie and I have known each other for years. We practically share the same birthday, I love her like a sister and I know it’s because we are different but we accept each other and love each other besides our differences. Last night we were able to get together to celebrate another year spent on this earth. This past year has had lots of challenges as well as accomplishments. So many different losses, but at the same time there have been times of joy that help to cover some of the pain of those losses. So as we, waited for my wonderful hubby to light the combined amount of candles on a cake just barely big enough to hold the candles, we laughed, talked and finished eating one of our favorite dinners.

One of the best things I noticed about last night was the excitement my girls had in showing Aunt Sunni their rooms, and then talking to her about what they are most interested in. As the night progressed we shared our gifts for each other and some tears about family and life in general. One thing that I notice every time I am around Sunni is the fact that whatever seems to be going on in her life, good or bad, she is present, she is still content. There is a quote I came across the other day that says:

The most convincing sign that someone is truly living their best life, is their lack of desire to show the world that they’re living their best life. Your best life won’t seek validation

Steven Bartlett

I had a discussion a few days ago with my eldest daughter about this idea. We were talking about the fact that the world loves to label things, people whatever. People then take these labels and create a cause about them, or live by the label, or in rare occasions will take the label and just leave it there. When people choose to leave the labels where they are at and live the life they want to live, you will find content people. It’s hard to do, but when you choose not to worry about what people think about you or what they say about you, you can get yourself out of your self imposed prison. There are so many labels that can be given to me based on my religion, my race, my profession, my thoughts, really anything. I could be labeled a good technician but a bad mom because I work too much. I could be labeled a weirdo because of my all out love of cheesecake, flamingos and my dog, and I probably am, but I could also let this knowledge hold me back from living my best life.

People want to label themselves as a certain type of person, but will get upset when someone else puts a label on them. When we choose to live our lives to the best of our abilities while also finding the joy in everyday life, we rise above the world. We find contentment in what we are doing, and the draw to have to show it off to the world diminishes. I love that my girl Sunni is a strong, warm and loving momma to her two amazing girls. I love also that she can cry without apologizing, that she can stand firm in her decisions and that when she is with someone, she is present with that someone. She doesn’t have a perfect life and I know she has her struggles but, right now this is her best life. She shows up and is present, in whatever she does

What if we as a people decided that the world doesn’t need to see everything little thing that happens in our lives? What if we said, I am here, I am present without having to take the phone out to document it? Take your pictures, share your adventures, but don’t do it to have someone click the “like” button. I sometimes envy those who have chosen to stay off of social media. They don’t have the draw to post everything they do. At the heart of all this is this: Are you the master of your own universe and need to have people validate you simply because it makes you feel better, more in control? What if instead you just did life, knowing that there is a God who is in control that has already validated your life even before you did the stuff you did? There is joy in that. There is hope in that, there is peace and rest in that. I know that even if I did the biggest screw up ever and it landed on all of my friend’s Facebook pages, that that event doesn’t change who I am in God’s eyes. I have found that the most content people don’t have perfect lives, they have had major struggles, but they also believe in something bigger than themselves. They know when to show love, mercy, grace. They don’t think themselves better than anyone else. There is not a desire to always look and act perfect. That is the best life, and that sounds like the place I want to be. Until next time, I will leave you with a small speech from Robert Duvall in “Second Hand Lions”

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good. That honor, courage and virtues mean everything. That power and money, money and power mean nothing; that Good always triumphs over Evil; and I want you to remember this: That Love, true Love never dies. Doesn’t matter if any of this is true or not. You see a man should believe in these things because these are the things worth believing in.

Robert Duvall

A Hug and a Toy

Today was going to be a long day. We ad a full schedule and our doctor had to leave early for the day, so some of the appointments were rescheduled and others were given to me to care for. The last few days from Friday have been a bit rough. Within a 4 day period we as a hospital family looked forward to one of our co-workers getting through a complicated surgery to finding out she passed from complications. We as a hospital family mourned together in our separate homes and places where we were, and looked forward a few days to see where certain jobs needed to be taken care of.

Do you ever get to a point where you just stay busy so that you don’t puddle up and cry? The first few days were that way at least for me. I got the jobs done that were my responsibility to do but would then make sure I was busy with my family or some other such thing. Yesterday though it was good to cry. I had to give some bad news to a few clients and afterwards I just sat, and cried. Then I got to see a friend. This person radiates happiness and joy. I could see tears and weariness in her eyes though. She has been her momma’s sole caregiver for quite a while and she was just weary, and so we hugged. It was a rib breaking hug, and then we hugged again, and made plans to have lunch. Then I made her wait so that she could get a hug from the hug master, my co-worker and friend Mary. The power and the healing force of a hug and then cleansing power of tears is amazing.

I then had another close friend come by. I had to give her some guarded news about her dog. This did not stop the hugs, nor did it stop her super cute, mischievous son from pelting a toy at me, forgive me dear child for not paying attention to you or playing with you😜. I love you with my heart. It is not coincidence that these two ladies came into my day yesterday.

God places people in our lives because He knows exactly what we need. He knows I am hard headed, that I get tunnel vision, that I am loyal, but when I break, I a break hard, just to “buck up” and move forward because things need to get done. I don’t usually ask for help, but feel needed when I can help someone else. I didn’t know I needed to see these two ladies until I saw them, and of course my little toy throwing buddy. I know that the hugs helped both parties, I know if the toy made contact with its target it would have definitely gotten me out of my slump.

In all of this, it warms my soul that joy still abounds. There was an article written about my co-worker who had passed. She radiated joy, she knew who she was, and she did life. She had a huge disability that caused her pain all of the time, that didn’t stop her. She did life, she did adventures and she loved big. She was inquisitive, and we all had to try and navigate her engineering brain. Animals, dogs mainly, were her life. They brought her joy and a purpose. She will be missed. There is a huge hole left where a small (no seriously she was like 4’9”) lady once stood.

With her passing, it makes me think again what it is that brings me happiness, but also what brings out my joy. I am happy with cheesecake and working out. What brings out joy is my God, my family, and my friends. What helps me spread joy is when I can just be with people. When I can cry with people but also hug them, laugh with them, be with them. When I can pet my animals, when I can sit in the sun, and read my book. When I can be silly, and do new adventures. I hope you have joy, I hope that you can find joy in the simple, I hope there are hugs in your future, but I would try to steer clear of little boys chucking toys at your head. Until next time:

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning Psalms 30:5

It’s That Time Again

Do I feel any wiser?

Probably not, in two days I get to be a year older. Ok so in actuality I have been already working on that year, I just get to celebrate making it happen in two days. I must say I am very grateful that I made it this far. Being alive is something we as a whole may take for granted a little too often. I fully believe that worrying about when I will be with the Lord is not really worth my time since only God knows the numbers of my days. What I can do in this very special TWO DAYS BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY BLOG is tell you what I know to be true. So I hope you enjoy my extensive list of what I know is true:

  1. A birthday is important and should be celebrated, even if it’s just you or you have a car parade that is miles long. You made it this far, celebrate it!
  2. It is such a joyous occasion when the puppy is let out of her crate in the morning and does a flying leap onto your bed just to say “Hi!”
  3. Apples (Jazz preferable) cut up with peanut butter and sunflower seeds is one of the best parts of my lunch
  4. When you get a sunburn, make sure that it’s a weird shape so that when someone asks what you were doing you can give them a fun story.
  5. Sitting next to your son at church, realizing that the faint smell you are smelling might be the jacket he is wearing, is somewhat of a distraction. The jacket is getting washed!
  6. Jelly beans that are hidden in your bathroom cupboards taste so much better when you think you are the only one that knows where they are hidden
  7. Watching your daughter get excited about the birthday gift she is getting ready for her bestie is pure joy
  8. Doing a facetime call with your sister on her birthday just so you can walk her through how to use the gift you got her is really fun
  9. Sometimes pretending all is ok for a short time is beneficial, though hard to do
  10. Once a mom, always a mom
  11. Celebrating with one client, while silently crying along with a different client is one of the hardest jobs to do in the vet field.
  12. Self care is important, but is essential when all that you have to give is gone. It might take a loved one to gently tell you to go and do you for a bit.
  13. White dogs + grass equals quite a mess
  14. The first day of warmer weather and a slight breeze is extravagant, remembering to put sunscreen on is a plus
  15. White dogs + sun = a happy dog with a slight sunburn on her nose
  16. When you become a runner there is something inside of you that cheers on the random runner you see while driving to work, that cheering also encourages you to make time for a run
  17. There is a bit of jealously when you are in you gigantic work rig and your co-worker flies right by you on his motorcycle.
  18. Even if it’s a little cooler in the morning, if you have the chance ride your motorcycle!
  19. When your teen asks you to go on a bike ride, you go on that bike ride. If anything you can challenge her to a race and leave her in the dust (for about 2.5 seconds anyways😂)
  20. If your kid put forth the effort and did the work, you do the firepit and surprise them with smores
  21. When fighting over who is going to make the cookies, make sure that the person who one doesn’t see you when you sneak some cookie dough into your mouth
  22. Be the kind of friend, that if your friend is having to do something hard and you can share some of their load, you do
  23. Scratch the belly or head of the pet that offers that part to you, they love you and will take your love any way they can get it.
  24. Just because your pet has mastered the “puppy dog” look doesn’t mean he needs to have one more dog treat….especially if the last one counted as number 15
  25. No matter how many times your teen complains about the notifications going off on their phone, when you suggest turning it off, they will look at your like you just killed their best friend.
  26. Monkey see, monkey do. When one dog starts barking at the noise your hubby made, the other one will too, no matter how close they are to your ear.
  27. Cuties are a thing. The little oranges that peel so well, if you get the normal oranges, they do not get touched. Cuties on the other hand will be gone right as they are put in the bowl.
  28. When someone (me) stubs their toe, or accidently kicks a step don’t expect that I can talk right away to tell you what happened. Let me cry, curse, jump around first, then I will tell you I need ice
  29. New shoes, plus new sunburn on top of your foot DO NOT MIX
  30. I am feeling adventurous this week, I think I will start to teach my teenager how to drive, with a stick shift car
  31. When your son wants to cuddle, you cuddle, just not when you are driving, if he asks then, please wait until you get where you are going
  32. There are two types of dogs in my house, the puppy that will plop down on you and drop kick your ribs to get comfy, and then there is Jorj, staring deep into my soul, waiting for my to fill his toy with treats
  33. It doesn’t matter how long the cat has been in the kid’s room, when she comes out, she is in charge and she will claw slap you if you do not agree, don’t believe me? Ask Charlie the pup
  34. On that note, when the cat does come out, drop what you are doing, catch her and clip those nails. If that is what saves the puppy’s life then you must do it
  35. Just because you have done the job before doesn’t mean you should do the job now, things have changed and so have you
  36. Holding hands with your hubby is so healing
  37. Joy comes from knowing you are not fighting this battle alone.
  38. Sometimes when the only energy you have left is the energy to watch Instagram Reels after work, that is what you do.
  39. One of the greatest feelings is knowing you have the ability to help someone move forward and you act on that feeling
  40. April showers would be great right now, so we can enjoy May flowers. Though it does put a damper on my times I can ride my bike
  41. Did you know that when you remain calm, even in stressful situations, it helps those around you stay calm too? Once the situation is taken care of or fixed, then let the tears fall
  42. What I know for sure, this list is almost done, you are doing great!
  43. You know you have done good so far raising your kids when they stop arguing and comfort you when you get really bad news
  44. Being a year older is great, it means you can take what you have learned this past year and improve upon it and grow and thrive even more in the year to come

I always love doing these lists. Especially when it’s around my birthday. It helps me to put things into perspective. Tunnel vision is a real thing for me just read my blog Tunnel Vision . When I can sit down and list out what I know for sure (in my life) I tend to find a piece of my joy that might have gone missing. I hope you enjoyed my list, but do you have a list that could be made of things you know for sure? I would love to hear what some of those items would be. Please share in the comments section. Until next time:

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t change your individual spirit according to the latest style. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

Change Matters

Since when did change become a bad word?

We all know those types of people.  They are the ones that are the movers and the shakers, but they also don’t do well when the schedules get changed.  They are the ones that when a change has to happen you let them know about it 3 months in advance and in triplicate form.  When the day comes that the change is to happen you make sure they have had breakfast and a good night sleep so that they can face the challenge of the day.  Albeit the change can be as simple as dropping the car off at the shop and having this person pick you up, but hey it’s still a change. 

Earlier this morning this type of change happened to my poor daughter.  She was trying to play one of her computer games but overnight there was an update with the computer and the game was logged out.  Normally this isn’t a big deal, except she didn’t remember the password and the one person who could help with this had already gone to work and wouldn’t be able to help until he got home.  Now my daughter deals a little bit with anxiety so I could tell this was getting her a little worked up so instead of feeding into it, there was a change of subject, which seemed to help her thankfully.  Que the dogs.  They are a great distraction.  I will make this point right here, dogs are amazing, if you didn’t know that already.

I deal a bit with anxiety as well and change for me is not easy.  I would be the person that goes and lets off steam in the form of tears, and then turns around and gets things done.  I have taken on the mantra of “one step at a time” or just like in the movie “What about Bob?” baby steps, one baby step at a time.   This doesn’t mean that it’s easy though.  Lately (and I mean that in the last year) work has been busy, this is not new, but then adding in training new people, soccer practice for two of the kids, family time and getting my studying done, any changes really should get to me in triplicate form and maybe even a phone call the day of😂.  I am not complaining here, just stating the facts….ma’am. 

So why is change seen as a bad word?  When change happens the old must end.  There is finality with change.  This doesn’t mean what is causing the change is bad, just that in order for it to start something, something else has to end.  I love intermitted fasting.  I love what it does to help my body be healthier.  I do not like that fact that I need to not eat at times.  Each week I get a new schedule, so there is a constant change in my eating habits.  The gain I get far outweighs the cost I must spend.  I must focus on not getting “hangry” around people when I have fasted for more than 12hrs.  When I do get to eat, I can eat what I want but I have learned what foods make my body function better, so I chose to stick with those foods.  Change is fun though, I love breaking people’s assumptions that I will be doing something a certain way and then going a completely different direction (this backfired on me once when I told my daughter we would be going on a walk and then halfway through decided a jog/run would be better, she did not like me that day, but it was fun😁).

I love to workout.  I am an amateur at best and that is exactly where I want to be.  If you read my last blog it explains why Amateur, Yes!.   I love to challenge myself and I love to get into competition with well mainly my sister, but there have been others who have pushed me as well.   I get new workouts each week, and love seeing the changes that my body is going through because of the routines I do.  Mainly though, it’s the constant change each week.  The constant excitement of seeing what new exercises I am given each Monday.  I will say, ballet is NOT my strong suit, nor is a dancing routine but  I still put forth the effort.

Spring is trying to come to our area.  I can see the hope in the trees as they start to bud out.  I can see it as the grass starts to wake up and the deer decide to once again stand in the middle of the road.  Change is beautiful.   I also know that our climate loves to throw us curveballs, which is why most amateur farmers will grow they can inside before putting their crops in the ground, since the rule of thumb is don’t plant before Memorial Day, freeze and frost will get you every time.  Change brings beauty, change brings breakdowns that may need to happen, change could mean a new start.  Your outlook on the word change will affect how you deal with what comes at you.  So how will you deal with the changes that come your way today?  Until next time:

One reason people resist change is that they focus on what they have to give up, rather than what they have to gain

Rick Goodwin

Amateur? Yes!

My daughter has always had an eye for drawing and taking pictures.  She takes the time to really do it just the way she likes, sometimes she is spending hours on a project just to get it to a point in which she changes it later because she has a different perspective when she comes back to it.  Artists are just that way, but when I ask her to share her masterpieces she doesn’t like to because they are “just not right”.  My dad is this same way.  He is a perfectionist and is shows in his woodworking abilities.   He has made so many pieces of furniture over the years, and they are all so beautiful, but one of the first lines that will come out of his mouth is to underhand his handiwork.  When Tim and I got married, I asked dad to make us a hope chest.  It was a simple design in which all I wanted was for it to be lined with cedar.  The outside could be in whatever wood he wanted.  I can’t tell you the name of the wood chosen, but I can tell you it is a beautiful piece and when I put the special oil on it the red really shines through.  Dad seems to always say something about the fact that it hasn’t fallen apart yet.

I notice this in myself too, when someone pays me a complement, or tells me that I am doing a good job.  Instead of saying “thank you” I downplay what they have said to me.  Not only does this take away their complement but it also causes them to think that since I didn’t take them seriously this time that next time, they just won’t say it.  I have been working on this over the years, practicing not automatically downplaying my abilities but also validating what the person said by saying “thank you” to the person.

I am in love with the process of doing things.  I am not in love with being the center of attention, or even getting attention at all, but I do need to be seen.  I used to think I would be ok if I was just the “behind the scenes” girl, but after doing that for such a long time I started to realize that I actually like it when someone notices that I have creativity too.  The problem of getting noticed is that people realize they like what you do and want more of it.  You can’t stay an “amateur” when people notice your skills.    In the book I am reading “That Sounds Fun” the author Annie F. Downs talks about the joys of being an amateur.  You can have fun in what you are doing, because you are doing it for yourself and to do just that, have fun.  When my daughter is drawing or painting or doing any type of creativity, she is doing it because it brings her joy.  She isn’t earning money for her projects, nor is she having people beating down our door for her creations (though I am still waiting for my original masterpiece from her that she is still “working” on).  She may one day do one or both of these things but for now she is happy to sit at the table for hours or hide away in her room to do the thing she loves. 

I love to push myself, to prove that I can do something.  As I was sweating bricks today trying to keep up with the super sweet but bossy trainer on my FitOn App, I realized that it wasn’t the trainer that was keeping me going, it was me.  The trainer is on my iPad.  I could turn her off at any moment, instead I choose to follow along because I know I will get energized later because I accomplished the workout.  I treat myself the same way when it comes to my Hospice and Palliative Care training, when I am playing the lead role in wife and mom, and when I try my hardest to train people at work to do the job they are being asked to do.  Even with all of this I am trying to remain an amateur.  I want to keep enjoying what I am doing.  It is not always easy because the kids do things their way, the co-worker doesn’t want to do their best, and there are days when I really do not want to do one more squat with a leg lift. 

In the world of knowing the latest and the greatest and posting the picture as soon as it is taken so that people can see you do actually do things, being and doing something just to do it starts to disappear.  Who says that the world needs to know that you just finished the exercise, or the painting, or that your child just scored a goal in soccer?  Why can’t it be that we stay in the moment and enjoy it.  When you come to my house, there are masterpieces everywhere.  I have pictures up painted by my kids when they were under the age of five.  I have a BBQ cover that my hubby built, that is creative and built solid.  I have paintings from friends and pictures that I have taken.  They are masterpieces to me because I know the story behind them.  I know they were created by amateurs just doing what they love, not for the glory.  They were created by people who sat down one day and thought “wouldn’t this be fun, or if I draw it this way, it can be built and look the way I want it to”.   Simple, fun, and for no fame.  Perfect.  The world is going to judge us for so many different things, so why not save some things for ourselves to enjoy without the world looking in?  Until next time:

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited for all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.

Albert Einstein

The Fickle Heart

The world in which my heart lives is such a fickle place. 

As I sit here in my work vehicle watching and waiting for my son’s soccer practice to be over, I know that if I really want to be truthful, I would love to already be at home getting ready to eat dinner.  Here I sit though because this is important to my little man, and he enjoys the game and being around other kids.  I find it silly that as they practice they have to be wearing masks.  They are outside and there are a total of maybe 10 kids plus the coach on this really big field that I will reiterate is outside.  The rules state though that masks must be worn and so the kids do. 

The year of the virus has been a tough one, I miss the hugs and the lunch dates, but I have enjoyed the kids home more and the fact that I can take them to work with me.  I love the differences we have as people, I love that some of us are good at sports and others love to quilt.  I love the hotheads and the ones that are so calm it’s strange.  I love that we have different opinions and that we all tend to live our lives in our own ways.  I love that even as I step into my own home I will hear a different language being spoken (my eldest daughter is learning German).  I love seeing that my cousin in California is a chef/personal trainer/woodworker.  I love all of this because it is what makes us all unique.  I would not want to be like someone else.

I am reading this book about a gal who writes a blog, she talks about deep down joy, but doesn’t necessarily always feel it.  I relate with her, now more than ever only because things are so mixed up in life right now.  I won’t say it’s bad, but there are days when I don’t really know who I am other than a mom, wife, vet tech, Christian, but deep down I am a bit lost, and then I go on a walk with my dogs and I start to see that I am me.  I love the new wonder of the dogs seeing a horse for the first time, or when as I am walking a motorcycle drives by and I get the urge to fly.  I love the sense of accomplishment when I finish a project, blog post or craft and I know deep in my bones that I got something from it, and that is all that matters. 

I sat in church on Easter Sunday having the hardest time not crying.  The songs that were being sung just hit right at the core of who I am.  They also showed my what I had let go, and made me think of ways that I could get back what I have lost.  I realized as I sniffled and blinked back tears, trying hard to just keep singing, that I am not the center of my universe.  I am not my own creation, at some point God thought of me and said I really want her to live, and I want her to know me, and so He made it happen.  The mystery gets lost to me sometimes when I am in the hustle and bustle of life and I am worrying about this or that.  I forget that all it takes is a whisper to reconnect me. 

My son’s practice is about to end, which means I will get to go home and enjoy the craziness of the household.  I know all too soon I will look back on these days and think of how simple they were.  We will have other crisis’s to live through and new worries to add to our thoughts, and in all of it, will I remember that I am a somebody or will my fickle heart let me think I am just what my titles are and nothing more?  I am hoping I will grow and move and enjoy the journey I am on, and realize that I am so much more than what I think I am.  Until next time:

You are under no obligation to be the person you were a year, a month, or even 15 minutes ago. You have the right to grow. No apologies

fiton.com

Happy Easter, the Day After

Easter egg hunts and candy galore.

For some this holiday is just about the candy, hunts and the all might bunny, for others (me included) it’s about saying “HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!” Last year right around this time churches were shut down with what seemed like the rest of the world. We had a virus going around that we didn’t seem to know a whole lot about and it scared us, due to the impact it was having on us humans and how quickly it was spreading. There is still that fear now, but a little more subdued because we know a little more about it and we have a vaccine that is helping. This year though, we got to celebrate as a church family together in church, and for me that is powerful. It helps me reset my selfish thoughts into more selfless ones, and to tell you the truth I need that more than just Easter but for at least this past Sunday I could get into the promise that Christ died for my sins and is alive!

Easter this year snuck up on me though, and to quite a few other people as well. Maybe it’s because it’s earlier in the month than normal, or that fact that I haven’t gone shopping in a while and when I finally did, it was for Easter candy and the store I was counting on for said candy was already 99.9% sold out. No need to panic right? I mean I did just say that this holiday is more about the promise that Christ is risen, but I will admit, Easter candy is some of my favorite candy. Oh and the Easter egg hunts I “make” my kids do so that they could find the elusive empty egg so they can run and tell me what the significance of the empty egg means so they can get a prize. Saturday my son and I did an Easter Egg Hunt that was put on by a local church. It was a driving scavenger hunt where we got another clue at the different places we drove to. We told each other we wouldn’t cheat and look at the answer on the back of the clue, and for the most part we held to that, with the exception of one time when we had gone to two different furniture stores to find out they were not the correct answer to the clue. We had fun, and Tyler got a big bag of candy at the end of the hunt. He is still at an age where doing these activities are still fun. My girls are just happy to go along with my shenanigans at home so that they have the appropriate sugar rush to welcome them into Monday.

So with how important the holiday is, do I act any differently on Monday. Do I go back to my selfish ways? Do I promise like New Year’s Resolutions to do better and be better? To be honest I have to answer yes to all of these questions. I wish I could say that I am perfect and I don’t make mistakes but I am so far from perfect. I screw up all the time. I promise myself I won’t yell at the kids when I am frustrated, but I still do. I promise to judge less, but then find myself wondering why someone I know doesn’t work as hard as I do. I try and read my Bible more and pray more, but then Instagram takes over. I try and not let guilt rule parts of my life but it has a way of sneaking in, when I have a weak moment. Christ died for me because I am a sinner, and I needed Him to and He knew that. As I tried to explain to my daughter a few times, perfection is not in my blood, nor is it in hers, but we are called to try. We are called to love and not judge. We are called to be humble, kind and have integrity. We are called to live with the hope of Easter in our hearts. The world will throw us every which way and cause us to doubt to our core. People will fail us, but with the hope of Easter in our hearts, we know perfection is not the end call, love is. I hope your Easter was filled with fun, eggs, yummy candy, and visits with family and friends. I hope that if you are a believer, you celebrated the holiday for what really represents. Happy Easter from my family to yours. Until next time:

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us

Romans 5:8

Self Doubts and the Love of Change

Am I being too bossy?

I have found in the last few weeks I have been asking the question “am I being too bossy?” I am not talking in the family setting since I don’t tend to see them much during the week, so I leave the “bossy-ness” to the hubby on that one. I mainly start thinking this way when I am at work. I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I have to love change in this field because it happens often, but what also happens often is the unknown. Way back when I was an assistant the technicians that were my trainers and mentors drilled it into my head that we always needed to be prepared for anything that walked through our door. We even went as far as having emergency drills so that each person knew what their job was and how fast they had to get the jobs done. This is what I try and teach the assistants helping in the hospital I am in now. With that being said, I expect people to be always be in forward motion. Think ahead, plan ahead, look around you and see where you can be of most use. This is where change comes into play, and where I start to sound like my grandma when I was a kid. Young adults these days don’t see the value of hard work, and I dont’ really get it. Taking pride in a hard days work is a good thing.

It is hard for me (being a self driven person) to not expect others to be that way. So when real life doesn’t happen that way I have to adapt and learn that not everyone is like me. There are those out there who do not mind taking their time. Change # 1 for me. I sometimes have a hard time when someone tells me their way of doing something and they feel I should do it that way too, even if the way I am doing the same task gets the job done. This is a hard one, this is the kind of change I don’t do well with. I know it is a stubborn streak in me but it also sets a fire under me. Now this happens at home and at work. My hubby loves to do the “next times” and the “this is how I would have done it’s”, and then I find that I am saying those same things at work. Maybe that’s why I dislike it so much because I find that I am doing it myself to other people. He means well, just as I do, and I know it is just constructive critism, but to have it sound as if the way something was done is wrong, when it actually is just a different way of doing it, gets me fired up. Is there a change for that?

So when it comes to change and self doubts how do we cope with these topics? I mean I can’t keep going around work asking people if they thought I was too bossy? I really don’t have the ability to change people’s work ethics either. Yes I can tell them what is expected of them, I can encourage them, and guide them, but at the end of the day, it’s up to them to push themselves.

Change is hard, we have to deal with it daily. Self doubt is hard, but we can chose if we want to deal with it daily instead of changing our thought processes. Teenagers have this innate ability to bring out the self doubts of parents everywhere. One day they are chatting and engaging and the next you can barely get a word out of them. Most days keep them alive is an adventure, did they eat? Did they sleep? Really? What is that thing you are wearing? It’s like they are two year olds on steroids’. One of my girls says she hardly ever sleeps, but doesn’t really look like a walking zombie to me. My son has so much energy and when I wander into his room to figure out why I see the stashes of snacks and candy wrappers. Oh! and tell me why there is this need to always be on electronics? All of this is change too. I could say that when I was a child I wasn’t this way, but my momma would probably say otherwise.

Prayer, patience, and a lot of exercise seems the way to get through these “unstable” times. Changing the doubting thoughts into positive thoughts is also mandatory. I find when I am at my breaking point, I call up by bestie and have lunch. We talk shop, encourage each other as mommas, have some laughs and cheesecake and then go on with our days. Just as I wish work ethics were more important, I also wish that doubts didn’t have to play such a large role in my life. What I lean on is what’s important, God, my faith, lots of prayers, family and friends, and my knowledge that no, I am not being too bossy, I am just pushing people to the potential I see in them. Until next time:

The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

unknownami.com

Who Cares, Self Care

It’s amazing the power of tears

Yesterday was a hard day, it was the first full day of the kids being back from their grandparents house. They had been there for spring break, and had had a blast with the cousins and each other, with only one “breakdown day” when my oldest called to let me know she had a hard day and was experiencing the residual effects of a panic attack. It seems to always be a bit hard the first couple of days when we are all together. The kids getting back into the routine of family life and us parents getting back into the routine of having three kids back after a week of relative quiet and calmness.

Anxiety and panic attacks have been a part of my life story and though I don’t have to deal with them much anymore I do have triggers that will increase my anxiety and cause me to react. My reactions lately are to go to the person that caused the anxiety spike and give them a piece of my mind. This tends to release the pent up emotions along with a good cry, but then I tend to feel bad afterwards for “letting them have it” when it might not have been just what they did that caused the anxiety to spike in the first place. For instance: yesterday morning the subject of the kids towels was brought up. With my hubby doing a lot of the laundry lately he noticed the kids use a lot of towels. So he brought it up to them, they went into the “blame game” which meant they stopped listening to what my hubby was saying, which frustrated him and made the yelling start. I hate when people yell, so I started to get worked up, which didn’t help matters at all. To make it worse we were leaving soon after to go to church and my mindset wasn’t there anymore. After we got back from church, all was calm until the “say thank you to your brother” problem came up. My daughter has an issue with being forced to do things. Me telling her she needed to say thank you was one of those things. That was my last straw. I was already still worked up from the morning, I still was thinking about the breakdown that had happened while the kids were at their grandparents, and then when my daughter didn’t want to do what I was “forcing” her to do I was done. I did not do what my devotion I had read told me to do. I thought I was going into the conversation with love but instead I went in telling my daughter all the ways she was wrong.

There was no patience, kindness or gentleness in my tone. I definitely did not use all of the self control I could have used. I also didn’t give myself enough time to calm down. This momma missed the mark on a few of the “fruits of the spirit”. What this also made me realize is that I was not taking care of myself. I was allowing myself to get worked up when the yelling started and when the disrespect showed it’s face. Self care is extremely important and so before I went back in to talk to my daughter, I went out back and had a good cry. I had a good slam to my door, and I had a good heart to heart with God. I let Him know exactly where I stood on this whole momma and wife gig. I told Him I didn’t want to do it anymore, that it was too hard, that no one listens anyways and that what I did didn’t matter. The people in my family were going to do what they were going to do regardless of what I say. And you know what? God spoke to my heart and said “exactly”, the people in my home are individuals that have their own thoughts and beliefs. They are not little “mini me’s” and that is why this job is so hard, but I don’t have to do it alone, and I am not alone. Funny thing is, I opened my devotion up to Monday’s devotion and it was about the “self-centered outlook”. You know how you fix that? By helping others, but in order to help others you need to be right with yourself. Philippians 2:3-4 says:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

I had a talk with my family after my talk with my daughter.   I had to because it was important for me to find that joy again.  So I let them know I am always here for them.  I will love them and I will pray for them.  I let them know I will not stay in the room though when yelling starts, and I will speak my mind (with love) when disrespect happens.  I can't be there for my family when I am not taking care of myself.  My job as a wife and momma is to be their rock, and so I must lean on my own Rock to do my job well.  My platform for peace is prayer, and my stronghold is Christ.  People will let me down, but I know that no matter what happens Christ is always with me and will give me the strength I need when I "just don't wanna" anymore.  Until next time:

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint

Isaiah 40: 31

I Am Not Enough

Am I a pawn or a soldier?

Going to church is an important part of my family’s routine. My husband and I were brought up in the church and we wanted to make sure that our kids were too. When the pandemic hit it was harder for me than probably the rest of my family that we couldn’t go to church because it was a place that I could worship and find rest from a busy week. We started going virtually but it really wasn’t the same though it did help to fill the void of no church at all. Now don’t get me wrong I still studied the Bible on my own but there is just something about getting together with other believers and learning and praising together. So when we were able to start going back, we did but even that was different since our kids wanted to still keep doing the virtual church. So my hubby and I came up with a solution and said that every other week we would go to our normal church as a family and then on the off Sundays they could stay home and do the virtual church services they liked too. There was one caveat to this though on Sunday nights we would discuss what we learned and talk about how we could apply it to our lives.

As a family we didn’t want to sit back and allow a problem to stop us from learning at growing in our faith. In this world if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. So this brings be to the fact that I am not enough, none of us are really. We were not made to be our own saviors, our own soldiers against the fight of all the bad in the world. We were not called to be pawns either, we were not called to be pushovers, to be people that others have control over. We were made to be individuals who are not enough by ourselves but fully enough when we let Christ into our lives to help us be who we are called to be. Every day I wake up knowing that I am fighting a battle. A battle for my kids, a battle for myself and my husband. This is not your ordinary battle, it mostly is played out in our brains and our thoughts. As my husband I talked with the kids tonight over dinner we talked about how much we like to compare ourselves to others. My daughter is writing little online books and has 1.4k readers, whereas I have my blog with 35 followers, do I start to compare? My friend has a successful online clothing company that another friend of mine was envious of because she can barely get hers off the ground. Going onto Facebook and I see some guy has a bigger buck than his buddy…..the list can go on and on.

In order to be soldiers we need to bypass all of this, it is what makes us pawns. If we want to go further in this world we need to realize that we are not enough by ourselves. All too often we are trying to fix the problems we see in front of us not realizing that the problems we see are not the things to fix, it is the selfishness, pride, haughtiness, individualism, disrespectfulness..etc that need to be dealt with. Think of it this way, those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who are humble will be exalted. The only person we need to be like is Christ. If you don’t know what he is like the Bible will show you and tell you.

One year while I was the leader of the youth group at our church, we were learning about Easter. When I thought about the lesson I wanted to get across to the teens I realized that if I just stood in front of them and talked that the message wouldn’t really sink in, so I got a little bit creative. I split them into groups and had different rooms set up throughout the church. The first room, the teens had to look through newspaper articles and cut out stories that highlighted people helping other people. They then would tape them up on the wall and tell us why they chose that particular story. This was done so that they could see people helping people like Christ helped those around him.

The second room thank you cards were placed on the table and they were just asked to think of someone who was important to them that they could write a thank you card to. We told them they could take the cared with them or we would mail it for them so that the person would get this special note. Some of them picked teachers others their parents, and still others a special adult in their lives. This was so they could see that saying thanks to someone special was like saying thank you to Christ for what he did for us on the cross.

The third room had basins of water and dry towels, all we asked them to do in this room was to pick a partner and wash their feet. As you can imagine the teens were a little grossed out by this, and understandably so, a lot of the kids had just finished their sports practice and had the same shoes and socks on from the day. With a bit of encouraging the teens went through with the task. This room was set up to show the teens that the world doesn’t revolved around them, they need to learn to serve. Christ served those around him and taught that serving is better than being served.

The last room was back in our main meeting spot. Food was set up on the tables (we had pre-arranged to have a potluck), we talked about how Christ took care of his followers. All the way up until the end and then even after. When we don’t let worry consume us and we trust that our needs will be met we are like Christ.

I love that I am not enough, I love that I don’t have to depend on myself to be the best mom, the best wife, the best worker, the best friend, the best Christian. If I depended on myself for these things I would fall flat on my face and would fail every time. I am a soldier, I need to fight the war that goes on in between my ears. I need to step back and not allow those around me to influence the way I see myself. I need to show my kids how to be “not enough” either. When I do this they will be stronger and more able to fight the battles that they have come at them. Don’t be a pawn. You have to stand for something, so make it worth your time and your heart. Until next time:

When you are alone you can be anyone you thing you are: a loving spouse, a loyal employee, a good parent. It’s when you get around others that the truth comes out, so who are you?

The Kids Are Gone!

Spring break is upon us and we are kid free, so I thought why not compile a top ten list of things to do on spring break. If you are like most people you have seen the beautiful pictures that people put up on Instagram or Facebook of the places they have been. I follow a lot of Instagram accounts of people that take their dogs and even cats to national parks and hike around, or even this one chick that seems to find all of that natural hot springs in Oregon and takes pictures of herself soaking in them. I think the closest hot tub I will get to this spring break is the one in my bathroom (and that’s if I hop in quick enough to enjoy the hot water before it turns cold). I even have posts from families within my community that are these gorgeous shots of their families at the beach in Maui, or looking over the edge at the Grand Canyon. They are fun to follow and I know they are having a blast, my hubby and I well, we sent the kids to the grandparents.

This is almost a yearly tradition, minus the few years I got adventurous and did trips like driving down to Disneyland, or one year I took the kids up to Washington to go and stay and the Great Wolf Lodge for the weekend. For as long as my kids have been born though the yearly spring break trip to the grandparents place has been the thing to do, so this year is no different, except that now the cousins live in the same area which is great. The “handoff” of kids is usually a location that is a midway point for both of us. We meet, have lunch, talk for just a bit and then hug and kiss the kids before they leave. Now don’t get me wrong we miss the kids while they are gone, but oh! to just be able to think without the constant conversations that play out in front of me is nice. Tim and I actually got to just be adults. So onto the list of things to do on spring break:

  • Go shopping for new furniture.
    1. Now normally our budget would let us fork out a small fortune for new living room furniture but thanks to the stimulus check (thanks US Government!) we got a full set
Sofa from Ashley Home Funishings
  • Go shopping at Costco/Target without having to fight the “Can we go yet?, I’m bored! He’s just buying that because I am!”
Photo by Omar Abascal on Unsplash





  • Go on a motorcycle ride and not have to worry about how long of a trip it is (sorry dogs, might have to lounge on the couch for a few more minutes)😁
  • Take the dogs for a walk
  • Have a conversation about life, goals, future, money, really anything you want without being interrupted (kind of, kids still text you 😉) . I was talking to Tim yesterday on our way home that I felt that I could actually process things now. I am definitely one that likes to think about things, especially when it comes to new plans, new ideas, new projects. It’s not so easy to do when you are always on the go and when you get home time seems to fly even quicker since your hubby and the kids want to talk with you.
  • Take time to get stuff done around the house, but make sure to do it with your favorite music on and end the day with ice cream for dinner.
  • Sleep in and read a book
  • Challenge your sister to a workout challenge and then focus on beating her
  • Have a lunch date with a friend
  • Do whatever you need to do to do you. We don’t tend to take care of ourselves when we have others we are responsible to take care of. For me, when I am around people too much, my brain hits a brick wall and I need a “restart” so that I can move forward with my day. How about you?

Spring break can be a lot of things for a lot of people. My boss doesn’t really do anything during spring break because her daughter is homeschooled. I have those friends that take big trips during this time to places like Hawaii or Montana. Then there are people like me and my family. I still have to work so we do smaller trips to the grandparents or we end up doing stuff around town. These are all fun, these are all different and I say as long as you are doing you then go forth and go do your thing. Until next time:

Doing what you like is freedom, doing what you love is happiness

Thinking Too Much

Can someone give me a limit on how many things I can think about?

Whine, whine, shuffle, whine, shuffle…..this is what I hear every morning for the past 2 months since we got our puppy Charlie. I don’t know how her internal clock got switched to 6am in the morning especially when are alarms don’t even go off until 6:30, but here we are. Most mornings I treat her like I did my kids when they were babies, I try and lay as still as I can, I hold my breathe and I will her to go back to sleep for another 1/2 hour, and just like my kids when they were babies I get up and take care of her. I tell you, this girl is like a lightening bolt when she is let out of her crate. She zigs and zags, jumps on the bed, off the bed, over Jorj (our other dog), on Jorj, tries to find Tim’s head under the covers, you get the idea. She is a puppy on crack, but then we start to get ready for our walk and her focus changes. She sees her harness come out and she knows it’s time to go at the click of the buckle.

This is how I feel like my brain is sometimes. Tim and I could be walking along talking about the new remote he bought and the next thing I know I am thinking about the conversation I had yesterday. I have missed whole conversations because I got a text, didn’t even read it all but, because of the little tid bit I did get I go into another place in my brain, which is why I now try and leave my phone out of site when I am with someone. I am also a processor, I can have someone tell me something, or have something happen and three days later start talking about it because I have thought it thru enough that now I have something to say. Today was a day of not processing much at all. I felt like I was going through the motions of my job. It really started even before work began. My hubby had said something to me that rubbed me the wrong way, which then unbeknownst to me set the overall mood for the day, in a weird way. I didn’t leave the house cranky, and I felt like I had a calm demeanor at work, but something about the way the day felt, made me off. In the book “Get out of your head” by Jennie Allen she talks about the power of your thoughts. If you have too many negative thoughts roaming around in your head it will affect your health, but if you choose to train and change your thoughts to more productive and positive ones, you will start to see the healthy affects on your overall wellbeing.

Today there were just too many thoughts in my head. My workday started in “go mode” and ended in the same light. I had what my hubby had said to me, to what I had to remember to do for the clients, to helping the pets, to helping the doctor, to remembering that student/teacher conferences were this afternoon. My thoughts would then jump to the conversation I had with a friend last night, to a conversation I need to have with my doctor today. These were all mixed into the fact that there is definitely some thinking that has to happen while at work, like medication calculations, tracking vital signs, and remembering which animals like to bite vs. lick you when they see you. Wrap all this up into the momma brain I have that reminds me that my kids still need to have a functioning momma when I get home and Oh! I have to put a reminder into my phone to tell me when I need to take care of my daughter’s fictional horse while she is at my in-laws for spring break.

Starting to sound a little crazy I know, and having a time out built into each day would be amazing. In my blog post from a few days ago “Breathe in Breathe Out“, I talk about just that. We as humans think too much, but we don’t take the time to just stop and breathe. In a recent book by Carrie Stephens called “Holy Guacamole”, Carrie was living the fast paced life of a momma mixed with being a pastor’s wife. She had certain expectations bestowed upon her based solely on the fact that she had those too labels. She was always on the go, working hard to get her kids places, keeping her house in order, and doing the things that were put on her because her hubby was a pastor. So one day while with her friend at a restaurant she was ranting about all of the above and ended the rant by saying she felt like she was the left over rice and beans that had been left on her plate. Oh how I related to her story. In no way am I a pastor’s wife, but the labels are still there and the fast paced life is too. Carrie’s friend wisely told her that she in no way was the left over rice and beans but was actually the guacamole that is never left behind and most people love. If most of us were in the right state of mind we would take our cues from the one who knew severe stress but still found time for peace Jesus.

If you are a Bible reader (and even if you are not) you know or have heard about Jesus and the life he led. If there was anyone that knew stress it was Him. If you look closely at His life though, you’ll see that He always made time to be in the quite, in the stillness, so that he could just breathe, listen and know He was close to His father. Most often though He had to work to get to His quiet spots. He had to get into a boat and row to the middle of a lake, He had to sneak away in the darkness of the early morn or late night, He had to find ways to get to His quiet times, and He did. So why can’t we? I know some momma’s who find their quiet in the bathroom, while others set up a comfy chair in the living room and deem it as theirs and theirs alone. As summer slowly approaches I look forward to climbing into the hammock under the maple tree. The goals of the quiet time is to STOP thinking too much, actually it’s to stop thinking at all. It’s to notice and enjoy your surroundings. This takes practice, but is worth it. So where would you go? How would you find your breath? I would love to hear. Until next time:

Always end the day with a positive thought. No matter how hard things were, tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better.

Unknown

I Can’t Wait To Go To Bed

Is it really only 8:30pm?

Most days I wake up go on a walk with the hubs and the dogs and then get ready for work. Simple enough, it’s what most people have: a routine. Our routines may differ in what we do but usually people will do the same things each morning. Often when we get home from our walk Tim (the hubs) will get his coffee going (to save himself as well as the rest of us), and then sit at the table scrolling through Facebook. My approach to the morning is quite different. I do start with some caffeine but it’s in the form of Spark, multivitamins. I tend to then do my exercise routine and read my devotions. Shower and breakfast come next and then making my lunch so that I can head out the door for work. My hubby is a full time student and is home with the kids, while I head to work getting back right at dinner time. Since my day varies so much in where I end up (I am a mobile vet tech), routine is somewhat thrown out the window once I leave the house.

I am a creature of habit but at the same time I love a challenge. There is a lot of “thinking outside of the box” in the veterinary world which keeps my mind challenged, but what it also does is make me hit a wall right around dinner time. It is literally like a brick wall popped out of nowhere and hit me square in the head. I am lucky I come home and the kids talk to me about Minecraft, Fortnite and Star Stables. It’s unfortunate though when the hubs wants to talk real world stuff with me. That is saved for at least after dinner when I have had some food consumed, and the brain realizes that it doesn’t have to go into shut down mode. Quarantine life has greatly restricted my “alone time”. I need a recharge after being around people all day. I love getting lost in a book, I also love my bed. Some people have a quiet nook with a cozy chair, others have a balcony and a lounge, while others can get comfortable laid out on their couch. I love to get in comfy clothes, prop the pillow up on my bed and crawl under the blankets. I mostly read, but in desperate times of brain to wall slamming I skim the Instagram posts, watch the reels, and get lost in the cute little puppy dog eyes and noses that need to be bopped. These are not my most proud moments, but ya know sometimes those times need to happen.

I actually get excited to go to my bed at night. As the kids start drifting to their beds because bedtimes are near, I start to drift to my bedroom. The dogs even know the routine and get confused when I am in the living room later than 8:30pm. Wanna hear something even more weird. I love waking up on Monday mornings, for no other reason than I get to see what my new workout routines are for the week. I have signed up to get random 30-40min workouts assigned to me each week. I have this super awesome app that has trainers do classes for free. One of the perks is a weekly email that you get that informs you, that you have three new routines waiting for you on the app. The only way to get this email is finishing the previous weeks routines. It’s like opening a small gift each Monday morning. Now I know at this point a lot of you are want to look at me like I am out of my mind, but it really comes down to the fact that working out makes me feel like I am accomplishing something for myself. The email is just the motivation for the week. Again I know I should be happy to just be waking up in general but really, how many people do you know that like waking up on a Monday morning when really it means that work will start soon and kids will have to hustle to catch the bus? Let’s be honest here😂

Then there is the feeling of finally getting what you were supposed to get. Let me explain a bit. It’s the “aha moment” when the pastor preaches on something and you can finally say “I get it”. Or when you are able to get through to your teenager and need to celebrate with a nice big piece of cheesecake. Or when a prayer is answered. It’s the little accomplishments that make you want to dance the jig or just smile a little bit bigger. Life is not always easy, I have said this before, so when you can look forward to the things that make you happy (whether big or small), I say go for it and do it with all of your heart.

As I was looking through my calendar yesterday to see what it held for the week, I saw an entry that said “heart check with Mary”. My friend Mary has had a real tough start to the new year, and will push herself to keep going forward without making sure that she herself is doing ok. So this reminder was put on my calendar due to a request another friend of mine had made. This friend had gone through great loss in the last year and over that time, didn’t have people do “heart checks” on her, so when Mary went through some of the same situations, my friend asked me to schedule “heart checks” on Mary. This reminder brought some joy to my heart, it meant a good long conversation with Mary about life, her family and how she is doing. Every once in a while I will see notifications in my calendar that I pre-scheduled so that I would have small happy moments just to make sure they get done. Ok, I know what you are thinking, you have to pre-schedule happy moments? Yes, yes I do, because if I don’t I forget that I am not just a momma, wife, and vet tech but I am a person who needs to do things for herself.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

What makes you smile? What do you look forward to at the end of the day? What makes you want to wake up in the morning? What makes you want to do the jig, or giggle? Is there a song that comes on that makes you smile, or think of someone special? I was going through songs yesterday looking for songs that remind me of my tribe, my people so that I could make ringtones for them. I loved just sitting there going through the songs, even texting my sister to see what she thought would be a good song for her. It was a way to get me out of the moment, but still be there if my family needed me. I hope you have your little moments that make you smile, I hope that you find some if you don’t. I would love to hear what they are. Until next time:

…..We’ve got reason to get up, reason to get down, He done traded our sin for joy, and now that joy wants out

Happy Dance

Happy Dance

Mercy Me’s song “Happy Dance”

Breathe In Breathe Out

Photo by Emiliana Hall on Unsplash

Take a step back and just breathe

Over the past week a couple of the Instagram pages I follow sadly brought up that three of their fellow veterinary colleagues had committed suicide. They talked about how though these three were doing well in their fields the mental and emotional stress that they had been feeling is what ultimately led them down the road they went. The veterinary field is not a easy field to be in, we love animals, we hate to see them in pain, we want to support the pet parents, but we also have to set boundaries to make sure that our well being is not affected by the job. When you add the long hours and for some, wages that barely pay the bills, it’s not hard to understand that it can get overwhelming. I have been in the veterinary field for almost 16 years, I worked from being in the boarding facility to the hospital/surgery setting. I have dealt with, life and death, sickness and healthy, I have dealt with super sweet clients and clients that have been so mean I had to take a break to collect myself. I have worked with bosses who had the mentality of “lowest dose possible” except with the dose being replaced with “staff”. They would have the smallest staff count they could have and still be able to take care of the caseload (barely).

I work with a small group of people now, but the doctor and the hospital manager focus on the well being of their staff over the ever present caseload. When I started full time with them, I was giving them all I had and more because that is what I had to do at the hospital I was at before. I didn’t have time to breathe let alone think. Then the doctor and the hospital manager sat me down and in their own way said I didn’t have to do that anymore. I was to take my breaks and actually “take them”, I was to start later in the morning so that I would have more time to get personal stuff done. They have even made it a point to have monthly meetings to make sure I was happy. This wasn’t done just for me. The other staff members are treated the same way. It seems self care is important.

Which brings me to breathing. It seems silly to talk about it, since it is essential for life, but have you ever noticed that when you stop and take a deep breath start to calm down? While I was in college my roommates noticed that during finals week I would sigh a LOT. I did it so much I stop noticing I was doing it But my body was trying to “sigh” out the stress I was under. When you inhale a long breath and then hold it for a second before you release it, it causes your heartrate to slow down, which starts to calm your body down. The same goes for when you breath rapidly (hyperventilating) it makes the heart beat faster and the amount of CO2 builds up in the bloodstream which causes you to feel dizzy, which then makes your anxiety go up. When you step back from a situation, especially when it is a stressful situation and you focus on calming down, the quality of the breaths you take is essential.

As I go to work each day and deal with people worried about their pets, I wonder how it would be if we saw each other as the people we are. I wouldn’t just see them as the client who is worked up about their pet, and they wouldn’t see me as just the nurse who may know what I am doing and might try and get more money out of them. In these situations we all want the same thing, for the pet to be better and going home to his/her family. I am not saying all clients are this way, and I am not this way with all clients, but I can say that it is probably one of the factors that led to the veterinary professionals that took their lives to do so. Sadly it is a huge stressor and they may not have been able to do the self care needed to stop them from doing what they ultimately did.

I went to a client’s how recently to help her with her paralyzed dog. She had been texting back and forth with our receptionist about a bandage she had been trying to remove off of a couple of bed sores her dog had gotten. She had soaked the sites with warm water and the bandages were still not budging. She was starting to get worked up, and her husband who normally helps her was out of town. So when I called her she was almost desperate for help. So I went to her. When I got there she had her dog in the perfect set up, she had a rig and pully made with a sling for her dog to “hang” in. I came in calm, started to talk with her and while we talked I worked on loosening the bandages and stopping the bleeding. We cleaned and rebandaged the wounds and made her dog more comfortable. Could she have done this on her own? Yes, but since she didn’t have her support (husband) there and the bandages were not coming off, she started to panic. I knew I could bring in some calmness. I knew really what she needed was someone to say it’s ok, I am here and we will figure this out, and we did. Breathe in, breathe out. Most situations can be figured out by stepping back and taking a breather. Sleep on it, before big decisions. Calm down before saying something mean to someone, cry (soothing for the soul), but most importantly breathe. It may be the best thing you do for yourself. Until next time:

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

Why Are We Back To That Again?

Our conversation didn’t begin here

Have you ever noticed that when something is on your mind even the most random conversations tend to circle back around to what you were thinking about? I know this isn’t a new concept, it happens all of the time, but there are times when I wish it didn’t happen. When you are trying to be in the moment with the person you are with it gets awkward when you bring up this random thought that has been floating around in your brain.

This is the same phenomenon that happens in the vet world (probably other places too, but since the vet world seems to be my world mostly, this is where I wander to). There is a saying “it comes in threes” and basically it means if something is going to happen it will happen in triplicate. So for instance, about a month ago (on a Friday, of course) a puppy was brought in that had been vomiting but wasn’t having a bowel movement. First thought was foreign body in the intestines, which was confirmed with a abdominal radiograph. This meant we would have to do an exploratory surgery to find what it was the puppy ate. We were successful in removing a piece of a plush toy and we sent the puppy home and he is doing well. Sadly though, that was the first one, that means we have two more to go before that “bad streak” is done. Enter in puppy number two. So my super cute new puppy Charlie loves to chew on toys and will rip them to pieces. We watch her to make sure she doesn’t swallow any of the pieces and we try to pick them up before she gets the idea in her head, but this time we were not quick enough. Friday (don’t know why it’s always Fridays) I was at work and my hubby called me to say that Charlie threw up two times since she has had breakfast and he wasn’t sure if she had had a bowel movement. So I tell my doctor who tells me what I don’t really want to hear, we need an x-ray.

Charlie doesn’t do car rides well, but she did this one great which tells me she didn’t feel well. We get her in and get the radiographs done to have the doctor say she “doesn’t really like a gas pattern she sees, and that we should give Charlie some anti-nausea medication and see if we can get her to poop” if not, it meant exploratory surgery in the afternoon. I was never so anxious to hear if my dog went poop in my life. I sent my wonderful hubby home with some gloves and instructions to get Charlie moving and once she poops, dig through it and make sure she poops something out other than sh*t. You know you have a keeper if your hubby is willing to put on gloves to sift through poop for you. Luckily Charlie did poop and surgery was averted. So now we wait for number three, sadly we have to have one more dog/cat need x-rays for some random thing they ate, to finish out this cycle. I know it sounds crazy but once the third one happens it’s like magic, no more for a long time.

Which circles us back around to the first point: having a conversation and having a topic that you have had on your mind for a while pop into it. I think the reason this happens is because whatever that topic is, it’s important to you enough that it takes over. This may be a problem that needs to be fixed, it could be a person that needs a prayer, it could be an adventure that is coming up. Whatever it is shouldn’t be ignored. Just as in the vet world we don’t ignore the “comes in three rule”, people shouldn’t ignore something that keeps popping back into their lives.

I have learned over the years that ignoring the promptings of the brain can lead to worry and anxiety. When we choose to “take care of it later” we carry the worry and anxiety with us whether we know it or not. I’ve talked about my kitchen floor before. We had a remodel done a few years back, but the kitchen floor wasn’t done correctly so tiles kept popping up. We would replace tiles when needed but eventually got to the point of just having spots in our floor without tiles. Everyday I would look at the floor and hate it, until finally the hubby and I decided enough was enough. We pulled up all the tiles fixed the what was wrong underneath and laid down new flooring. When it was all done we both did this collective sigh that we didn’t even know we had been holding. The floor had been bugging us for years and we kept holding off on fixing it for various reasons, but when it was finally fixed the weight we didn’t know we were carrying was lifted. It’s a weird thing but it happens even with the smallest of issues.

Circling back around happens all of the time, it’s how we choose to deal with it that shows our abilities to cope with what is going on. Some problems are out of our hands so we pray, others are just a waiting game. Some circling around is because we are excited, and other times it’s because we want to make sure we are doing the right thing. Finding someone you trust to talk to helps, praying helps, heck just pushing forward and getting it done helps, but in the end ignoring it is never the answer. Until next time:

Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance

Rodney A Winters

Are You Happy?

There are so many ways to answer that question

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine that I haven’t seen in a little over 2 years. When she pulled up to the parking lot of my work, I almost (but not quite) dropped everything I was doing just so that I could go out to her and hug her. She had been doing a favor for her niece by bringing her dog to us that had eaten something that made her have an upset stomach. I ran out there like a momma who hadn’t seen her child in years. I think I hesitated only slightly when I got to my friend because I wasn’t sure if it was safe for me to hug her (her husband had cancer), but she gave me the open arms and I flew into them. My friend is the kind of person who is there for you. She was one of the first friends I had that helped when I needed someone to watch my baby when I had to go back to work. She let me sit on her couch and we would just talk. Even in the parking lot that familiar feeling overcame me that with this friend I could confide everything to her and she would still love me. So we talked about her grandkids, we talked about my kids and how much they have grown. We talked about her and her husband planning to travel again. We just talked. When her niece showed up to pick up her dog, I was in such a state of happiness that when her niece mentioned something about how she had not even gotten a hug, I immediately hugged her and then realized she was talking to her aunt. Seeing my friend was what I needed.

I am blessed to work with people that I get to call friends. Over the years I have found (at other jobs) that it’s hard to be friends with your boss, I mean they have to put their foot down at times and it’s not pretty. My boss now though really is a friend. You could say we grew up together (in our careers) and our families have grown up together as well. We aren’t super close, but that’s ok. I know I can count on her and she can count on me. Her office manager, and receptionist are friends too. I am lucky to have these relationships. They make me happy, but it doesn’t make answering that question any easier, when asked that in a meeting. I mean yes I am happy, I love my job, I love who I work with, and I love that I have the flexibility in my job to have my girls with me in the rig when I go on appointments, but when both sides are working hard to make sure the other side is happy it’s somewhat awkward to answer the question. I will say this it is really nice to be in a workplace where people are treated with respect and we genuinely have fun working with each together. That is happy.

Last night was church night for the kids, sometimes all three like going to church, but mostly it’s just two of the kids that really get excited to go. I pray a lot about this because church is important, but I know deep down I can’t force my kids to think or believe like I do. My hubby and I can guide and pray, and then pray some more, but at the end of the day, we plant the seeds, God waters them. Last night though, I didn’t have to fight anyone. I didn’t have to try and persuade, or try to understand why a person didn’t want to go. All three of my kiddos finished their dinners and hoped in the car to go. I am a firm believer that on the days you really don’t want to go, those are the days you should really be there. This made me happy that they all went, because even if they didn’t get much out of the message they still got to go and do fun things with their friends. In the times we are in that doesn’t happen very much, so I am happy at least for that.

Two nights ago I finished a really good book. It was one of those books that you make sure you set time aside just so you can read and not get bothered. Sadly I finished it, happily I finished it. I love books that aren’t too “heavy”. I like to get lost in the book. I like to think about what it is I read, even better when I can connect to the characters/author. It’s an escape for me. In my house my family likes to joke about the fact that while everyone (and I mean everyone) plays video games my nose is stuck in a book. I don’t do video games at all, my hand/eye coordination is probably horrible, but I could tell you some good stories based on the books I read. Like I said earlier though books are my way to unwind and escape. Sometimes my work can be stressful, sometimes being a parent/wife can be stressful. I wouldn’t trade what I do or have for anything, but I will escape it for a little bit. When reading it becomes “my time”, and this makes me happy.

Happiness is a feeling, it’s not selfish to be happy, but sometimes it’s hard to find the happiness in the world around us so we have to work at finding it. Happiness and joy are linked but you don’t have to have one in order to have the other. Joy comes from knowing who you are and being ok with it, it is knowing that you belong to Christ, it is finding peace in the moments. Happiness can come from everyday situations. You can have happiness and not know your joy yet. You can have joy and have times of not being happy. Happiness in all forms, sheets dried on the line (smells like summer), cheesecake, a child’s hug, a friend’s listening ear, a day on the couch, a motorcycle ride, time with family and so much more. So what does happiness look like for you? Until next time:

Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.

Is It Love Though?

All I want is peace and happiness

I was reading a devotion the other day about love. Shocker that the verse that is associated with the devotion was:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

I live in a house with two teenage girls, a son and a husband who all have opinions on life and how it should be lived. We coexist with each other pretty well for the most part, but there are definitely times when I would love to maintain the peace. I have been told to “pick my battles” and I do for the most part, but when I choose to remain silent when I should speak up isn’t showing love to my family. This could be as simple as talking to one of the girls about a post they put up on Instagram and how they don’t see it as offensive but I do. It could be bringing up the “raw topic” of not getting the allowance for a week because the chores were not getting done. It could be about what to do with the tithe money when one of the girls wants to take a break from church for a bit. Some topics are simple and are mentioned once and then done. Others not so much, they turn into conversations that will last a long time because they are important ones about life. If I chose to not speak up about these different topics I would then be saying that I will tolerate what is happening and thus let them know that I think it’s ok. That would not be love.

The more and more I live in this world, the more and more I see that there is a lack of love. Not the gushy, sloppy love that is portrayed everywhere but the love that is patient, is kind, is not easily angered or self seeking. This is not easy. We get upset when someone cuts us off while on the way to work, we get even more upset when we try and have a conversation and get interrupted constantly. We get upset when our best laid plans go up in smoke just because someone announces they are going against the grain. I am not saying that we shouldn’t get upset, sometimes that needs to happen. Jesus had cause to get upset on multiple occasions, and when he did they were not temper tantrum fits. Jesus was very patient with those he met, he talked with people with love, and acceptance. Even when those same people were causing Him harm, he didn’t lash out but he did fight for them with prayer.

James 1:19-20 says this:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires

James was talking to the twelve tribes that had been scattered among the nations. He was having to encourage and teach people that were in the world about what it will mean to be Christians and to have people mock and ridicule them. How closely this resembles our world today. Peace and happiness are properties to strive for, so are honesty and humbleness. A friend of mine that I worked with years ago saw I was getting upset with a client on the phone. The client wasn’t being the nicest of people and she was demanding that I take care the problem right then and there. I was getting frustrated with her as well as the person who had told her the wrong information that had caused the problem in the first place. So I put her on hold. I proceeded to go into the back treatment area to rant and let off some steam. My friend heard me and asked how she could help. I told her the situation, she listened and then said “here let me handle it”. I was curious to see how she would handle this client so I followed her back up to the reception desk. I was amazed! My friend got on the phone, and in a very quiet and calm voice she started talking to the lady. My friend had to repeat herself a couple of times, but that was only because she kept talking in a quiet and calm voice and the lady on the other end couldn’t hear her because she wasn’t expecting to have to “listen”. Even before the phone call was over I realized that I had the same problem the lady on the other end had, I didn’t think I had to “listen”. My friend calmed the lady down by being calm and listening. I learned that day, that most of the time when people are upset it’s because they feel like they are not being heard. I had gone into the conversation with the lady already geared up for a fight. I didn’t show humbleness, I was not patient, and I definitely had a list of wrongs I was sure this lady had. I didn’t go in with love at all.

Peace and happiness are only good if they are pure and true. If problems are ignored and conversations don’t happen just because you don’t want to upset the balance of peace and happiness, then what you have is not real. Sadly you will not be liked all of the time, this is hard for me to say because I don’t like having people think badly of me, but over the years I have learned that people are not the end all. God is. That is where the joy is found. I have had to have hard discussions with people, I have disagreed with choices being made, but I also realize I am far from perfect. If something needs to be said or done, I have to go and say it/do it with love and humbleness, and instead of fighting battles with harsh words and deeds, I need to fight them on my knees in prayer. Until next time:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:22-24

Simpler Times?

Can we go back to the days when life was easier?

Was there really such a time? I am not so sure, I have been told that hindsight is 20/20. When you look back things seem like they were easier and simpler but were they? Parents look back and remember they used to think the toddler stage was hard, as they go through the teenage stage. Or when you had a good system going at work and then one small thing gets tweaked which changes everything. Or when the family dynamic gets changed but the attention of one furry little floofball who doesn’t like you when you wear your work clothes so she cowers and barks until your clothes are changed. Or when your teen decides that she wants to do things her own way and you have to step back and fight your battles in prayer. Over the last few weeks, ok months really life has been changing, I didn’t really notice the changes so much until I looked back and saw the “simpler times” compared to the times I have going on right now.

I remember as a young momma people telling me to enjoy them while they are young, time goes by so fast. So I would do my best to enjoy my times with my kiddos and to try not to worry about the upcoming teenage years. I am a newbie “teenage momma”. I have two teenage girls who are very, very different but the same as well. I was joking with them the other day about them teaming up to see how many grey hairs they could get to pop out of my head. I really do think they target me as the softie momma who tries to hear them out, but there are days where this momma heart can’t take any more. You can’t really prepare for the teen years, you can really only guard your heart with prayer, make sure not to take too many things seriously, have room for laughter and know most of what your teens throw at you is them feeling you out because they are trying to figure out who they are and they need to know you are in their court. This knowledge doesn’t stop me from wishing for the “simpler times” when their opinions closely matched yours, the biggest problem you had was that they didn’t want to eat the dinner you made them and the fact their fashion statement of wearing undies on their heads was the big thing that caused tears.

So where does joy come into all of this. I try to joyfully live life, and I do most of the time. But joy isn’t about happiness and laughter. Joy is about something deeper. It’s about knowing who you belong to. It’s about surrounding yourself with people you love and who love you back and will have your back. Joy is knowing that you don’t have to be ok all of the time. Joy is love of family and friends and knowing that your crazy teenage girls still trust you enough to talk to you even if what they tell you blows your mind and makes you want to bury your head in the sand. Joy is admitting to yourself that there are some things that are out of your hands. That you really don’t have control of “everything” Joy comes from knowing you don’t have to to have control.

I love looking back on the days when my kids were younger. The pictures show how “sweet and innocent” they were. I know when I was going through those times I would look back and remember how “easy” things were before kids. The problem is I keep looking back. It’s in the past. It doesn’t matter if they were “simpler times”. Those times are gone, being in the now is where I need to be. I learned a lot “way back when” but I am learning a lot now. I love having conversations with my kids. I love using the knowledge I gained from the past to grow in the now. I know looking back will happen. I know the future me will look back on what is happening right now and think “man those were simpler times”. I know that I will grow from these experiences I am having. Right now is stressful, right now is hard, right now is right where I want to be. Surround yourself with people and things that bring out the joy. Find God again, and pray, not as a last resort but like you are having a conversation with your best friend, because you are. Until next time:

Appreciate What You Have

This week my boss got to go on a vacation, and a much needed one at that. While she is gone we as the staff have a laundry list of things we want to get done before she gets back. Somehow this list seems to get longer and longer the longer she is gone. To make matters even more interesting is that we are all determined to not call/text or bug her in any way while she is gone. This is the hardest of all tasks, because though we know she is gone, and we have tried to tell our clients that she is unavailable, there are still those out there that need their pet’s doctor. So what is it about people being unavailable that makes them more needed. It’s not like the animals waited until she left town to get sick or hurt.

The saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” comes to mind. Though it is only a week, our doctor is missed. The same holds true in every day life. Two years ago my hubby was gone for 6 months almost straight. When we first agreed to him going over seas I didn’t think it would be too difficult. The kids were in school and when I got off of work I would spend time with them while making dinner with weekends reserved for us doing something as a family. The first month was smooth sailing, months 2-6 were progressively rockier, with us all being really excited to have Tim come home. We didn’t realize how hard it would be on the family having him gone. Now he isn’t allowed to go anyway (kidding…..kind of). We were lucky in the sense that we got to have him back, some people aren’t as lucky and they have to live a new normal without their loved ones.

A friend and I were talking a couple days ago about how quickly things can change and there is really no way to know when it will happen. People loose their jobs, people get new opportunities opened up for them. People get left behind, while others seem to be in the right spot at the right time. Celebrations can happen on a whim just as quickly as tears of sorrow flow over the loss of a loved one. Having teenagers will teach parents quickly enough the fact that nothing ever stays the same or is as it seems. To say you need nerves of steel just to parent is an understatement. With all of this, looking for the solid foundation is key, whether you are rooted in your faith, have a solid family connection, or have friends that have been with you through thick and thin, if you can’t find your strength you are not going to make it very long.

I was in the car today with a friend of mine. She has had such great loss in her life within the last few months, it’s amazing that she hasn’t gone crazy. I know she has her moments of grief and sorrow that overtake her, but she seems to find her strength again when she gives herself a purpose. So today she helped me with house calls. Tomorrow she will do things around the house, the next day after that she will keep going, she has her faith, she has her family and she has her will to keep moving forward. She knows what it means to appreciate what she did have, but knows that moving forward is part of healing.

Take time to have fun, to laugh. Don’t take life so seriously. Get together with friends and family. Bake some cookies and share them. Write a letter to someone. Get your head out of the book/or off the electronic device and talk to the other person in the room. Go to church. Sing a song. Dance in the rain or make a snow angel. If nothing else, when your pet’s favorite doctor comes back from her vacation, stop by and let her know it’s good to have her back. Until next time:

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

Valentine Shenanigans

It’s a love/hate relationship

Ahh Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love, a day to spend time with loved ones. A day to play a brutal game of Monopoly? I can say there was no love around the table yesterday as the game got under way. It started with properties being bought up and eventually having hotels built on them to properties being bought, sold, traded and mortgaged to get out of debt all in the name of landing on a property with said hotel placed on it. There was the moments in which an older sister tried to bamboozled the younger brother out of his properties to rolling the dice before someone realized rent was owed to them. If there ever was a person that said Monopoly was a civilized game they were lying. With all this being said. We laughed, we yelled, we negotiated, I think we even had some tears shed but we had fun.

The raw emotions of the game will soon be smoothed over by the smell and then taste of homemade cookies. The traditional valentine gifts have already been given and mostly consumed (chocolate filled hearts don’t usually last long) and the “surprise” dinner that the hubs and I will have later will be ordered and picked up when Tyler is dropped off at the “parent’s night out” at the church. Not a traditional Valentine’s but one that is spent with loved ones.

Valentine’s Day looks different for many people. Flowers are given, candlelit dinners are prepared, and outings are planned. Valentine’s Day ushers in springtime, new growth and new beginnings. I wish I could say I believe that with snow and wind outside my window but the day does bring a certain amount of hope with it and yes “joy”. The day was spent with my loved ones. With the colder weather outside it meant we did more indoor things. Baking cookies and quietly stealing cookie dough being one of them. Games were played and projects completed. I am looking forward to warmer weather and spring flowers. I am enjoying the playfulness of Charlie the puppy and the look of contentment on Jorj’s face as he sleeps in between the spurts of Charlie excitement.

The smell of cookies is strong and almost impossible to ignore. I am excited for the “special dinner” tonight with my hubby. I am excited that my son gets to go have fun tonight and the girls are looking forward to movies tonight and playing their respective new games they just got. Valentine’s Day may look somewhat boring in my home but it is where my heart belongs. How does it look in your home? Do you go out and do something special? Do you stay in for the night? Do you gather your girlfriends up and go do an adventure together? With whatever you do, I hope you enjoy it. I hope you do what you want to do that brings your heart joy.

The Joy Of The Puppy

Ok I feel like I should stay focused but it’s really hard when I am sitting in my dining room watching my new puppy Charlie try and take on my cat Lilly. It’s a loosing battle for the pup but she keeps trying and Lilly keeps not caring. The scene is as follows: Lilly the cat finally gets out of my son’s room to get to the kitchen. First obstacle: little white puppy who is determined to bark, run, come back all the way to the kitchen in which Lilly gets onto the counter where her food is. Charlie decides that this is unacceptable since Lilly did not play her game all the way to the kitchen so she gets as close as she can to Lilly who is still on the counter and proceeds to bark, run and come back. Lilly adds in her own specialty of a hiss and a swat in between stealing some leftover mac and cheese on the stove. Poor Jorj scratches at the door to be let in, leaving a lag in the “game” for Lilly to get on top of the cupboards.

Cue Jorj: Mr. Jorj dog really just wants to get on the couch but can’t seem to make it there since Charlie the now bouncy puppy has decided that jumping from said couch over Jorj to the ottoman is the new fun game to play. So back and forth she goes, and as she jumps she causes the ottoman to move so the last jump attempt meant she landed on the back legs of poor Mr. Jorj. Cue the “dog fight” if you want to call it that. There is pulling and tugging of skin, trying to catch each other’s back legs and the ever present growling and showing of teeth. Playing really until Charlie gets tired of the game and takes the toy Jorj was looking forward to chewing on. Ahhhh well the couch is now free.

Cue the toy: With Jorj lounging on the couch now, and Lilly silently trying to get more mac and cheese, Charlie takes on the toy. Usually she can get one of us humans to put treats in the toy but for now she is content…..cue poor Lilly again. Charlie leaps off the ottoman like she’s jumping out of a plane, snags a piece of Jorj flesh and she takes on the race of a lifetime getting Lilly to go under the bed.

For Charlie this has been a daily routine (if you want to call it that) since she became ours 4 weeks ago. She thinks she is big and tough until someone new comes in, when she is on a walk she is so excited to meet the dog barking at her until she does. Jorj brings calm and normalcy, whereas Charlie seems to focus as well as a two year old in a candy shop. This is the joy of a puppy. Charlie prances on her walk when she gets to carry the stick she found. She is excited to get her breakfast and dinner and she has picked her people to follow. She doesn’t care who she plops down on (she has taken that cue from Jorj) and she’ll whip you with her tail if you talk to her enough.

I look at her and wonder how (if it’s even possible) to have some of that puppy joy? I know the joy of eating a really good meal (cheesecake or street tacos anyone?). When I see my people I smile big and know I am home. Not so sure about taking on a hissing, swatting cat but Charlie looks danger in the eye and barks at it. Older siblings are always fun to mess with and when it comes to jumping from couch to ottoman, I’ll take jumping for joy because of something awesome that just happened. And then at the end of it all just plopping down on the couch for a two hour cat nap, what could be better than that?

I am joy in a wooly coat, come to dance into your life, to make you laugh!

Julie Church

I Just Want To Crash And Burn

Yesterday was the day, we planned for about 2 weeks to do a family outing that was much needed. We bought out tickets, found someone to hang out with our puppy for the morning, packed our lunches the night before and got ready to leave. About and hour and a half later we arrived at our destination. As we piled out of the car the kids started to comment on how big the hill looked. The observed that it looked a lot taller than the last time we had been here 3 years ago, which I thought odd since they were younger then. We handed over our tickets to get the passes we needed and went to get the snow tubes the resort provided for us. The hill had five lanes, with snow berms dividing them. Some wise person a while back put in a conveyor belt that would bring people and their tubes up to the top of the hill, and from there they just had to pick a lane, and go. Snow tubing at it’s finest.

At first my girls decided that a double tube would be the best choice since they felt they would be staying together for the whole time, so that is what they grabbed. Tyler, Tim and I went for the single tubes since we knew that if we wanted to be together all we had to do was hold on to each others tubes, but if we wanted to go down separately we could as well. First time down the girls had a blast, went up onto the berms but stayed in their lane. When Tim, Tyler and I got to the top it was determined Tyler wasn’t ready to do the hill by himself yet so I held to his tube and Tim went by himself. This happened for a few more times, but as we stood in line to get to the top and watched the other tubers go down we and the other spectators started to noticed that certain lanes were faster than the others, and we noticed that they had more riders on the berms, going over the berms into other lanes, or they riders themselves were flipped off their tubes. We also noticed it was the bigger groups that had more of the “burn outs” as well as adults. The smaller kids were fine and stayed in their lanes (unless they happened to be attached to an adult who “crashed and burned”). I am sure you know where this is going. Now all of the adrenaline junkies knew what lanes to get into and were determined to see how far they would fly, how many lanes they would cross over into, and how many berms they could “ride”. Now I will say this, there is a guy at the top of the hill that won’t allow people to use a lane until the previous rider has gotten out of the way, but that doesn’t stop the accidental crossing of lanes in which tubes collide.

I found out real quick who the adrenaline junkies were in my family. Leah and Tim both got this look in their eye and they started to plan. They figured if they got into lane one or two they had a better chance at at least getting onto the berm if not going up and over it. Since Leah and Tabby were together most of the morning Tabby decided to hang with me instead. Tim on the other had decided to just wing it on his own for a little bit since Tyler and I were not interested in turning head over heels in front of spectators. So after a run or two Tim managed to get bumped off his tube in which he dug his shoulder into the not so soft snow. I little sore but no worse for wear. Leah still had not managed to catch the flight she wanted but she was determined. I was not going to be the one to tell her that she probably didn’t have the weight behind her to get her up off the ground. Near the end of the time we had, we all decided to do a run as a family. The five of us all holding onto each others tubes going down the lane chosen at the same time. This was Leah’s time to shine! First attempt was down lane 2, not as fast and flight worthy as lane 1 but we did it anyways. Sadly as we started down the lane one of the tubes was let go accidentally so though the ride was fast and the berm was rode, no one went flying. The second attempt and sadly the last because our scheduled time was up was in lane one. The fasted lane and the one that was proven to send people flying the most. We positioned our tubes in a way that we hoped would set someone to flight. We started down the lane fast, the snow was spraying our faces and as we approached the turn in which flight could be had, some tubes were released but others not so the only person who went somewhere not intended was Tabby as she and her tube flew up and over the berm and into the lane next to us. Leah later admitted that since she knew it wasn’t going to be her that got to “crash and burn” it might as well be someone. Poor Tabby. Luckily she staying on her tube and reached her final destination at the bottom of hill albeit not in her original lane.

As we all piled into the car for the trip home, we all agreed it was a fun day. I know in the next few days I will be feeling the bumps and bangs of the lanes since I was not able to keep my back side from hitting the thin bottom of the tube, but it will be worth it. There wasn’t any fighting, there was a little bit of competition, racing each other down the mountain, we just had fun together. It set in my mind that though the Sunday rule of now electronics is no more, it is still very important to do things as a family. We may be “around” each other all week long but we don’t interact with each other much. Electronics get in the way, school gets in the way, work gets in the way. By scheduling time to be together as a family, it solidifies the fact that we need to be there for each other and that family is important. So what is it you do with your family? Are you so busy that you don’t see them much? Try setting a time each week to be with each other, it doesn’t have to be something you spend money on, it could be just a board game at the table. If it’s important enough, time will be made to make it happen. Until next time:

The adrenaline and stress of an adventure are better than a thousand peaceful days.

Paulo Coelho

Tunnel Vision

I am told I get tunnel vision a lot. I focus on what needs to get done and I don’t pay attention to what is going on around me. I don’t tend to see this as a bad thing until it’s brought to my attention that I have been doing something for hours and have forgotten other aspects of my day. This actually worked in my favor (kind of) when the end result was my husband bringing our new puppy Charlie home, see my blog: From Oops to Puppy. When I was younger I remember it being kind of a joke in the family because my mom was the same way. If there was something we lost, all we had to do was tell mom and she would go into search mode and not stop until it was found. Granted we had to stand in a corner and try to remember where we put said object but if it was going to be found mom would find it.

Tunnel vision can be pretty awesome though, especially when something like house cleaning needs to get done. If you turn on your favorite tunes and block out all other distractions, add a little frustration and you are set. I have been known to clean our whole house in 2 hours all while mentally making a list of all the new chores the other family members will be getting. My oldest daughter Tabby will zone out for hours just drawing on her digital drawing pad. She will turn on her music or podcast and just draw, it is actually pretty cool to watch because she is doing something she really loves. My middle daughter Leah is the same way when she gets into creating masks in her room or paining random objects. She has been known to work for hours on her different designs. When you get to have tunnel vision doing something you like, it makes all the difference. It’s hard when distractions keep happening and you have to figure out where you left off or you loose your hard earned focus.

Tunnel vision can cause some hurt feelings and frustrations as well. I was talking with a client today who mentioned she really liked that the vet didn’t just focus on the patient, she took the time to “notice” the owner and see they are going through whatever their pet is going through with them. She said with other vets she used, they would come in, do an exam, “listen” to the owner, treat the animal and then move on. They never took the time to see if the owner understood what was going on, they never asked if the owner was doing ok with the issues their pets were having. She felt as if she was just the random person in the room, who happened to know the pet. The doctors had tunnel vision but not in a productive way, and so she was turned off and went looking for another vet who would see her as well as her pet. A few months ago I started to realize that I was looking at people and listening to them but I wasn’t actually actively looking and listening. I had a “I need to get stuff done” tunnel vision. It was a very bad thing to have. I missed out on some really good conversations because I felt I really needed to get something else done instead of paying attention. I would end my day knowing I interacted with people but not remembering who I interacted with. I was not ok with this. So I decided to change (still a work in progress). When someone started to talk with me, I would stop what I was doing and interact. When someone looked at me I made sure to look them in the eye and smile. When I was getting overwhelmed I would ask the person talking to repeat themselves. More often than not, I had to mentally turn off the “tunnel vision” to be in the moment.

Lately I have been around my family a little more, this means that I have to “clock out” of the work mode I am so used to and “clock in” to the family mode that I want be more center stage. This means taking a few moments in my car to physically clock out, and mentally clock into what I will walk into when I go inside the house. This means that when I come in I put my stuff down and change out of my work clothes and into regular clothes so that I physically feel like I am home. I try to keep work and home separated and they only mingle when I need to have a listening ear after a hard day.

Tunnel vision isn’t always bad, if you have been to Yosemite you know that the view you get after going through the tunnel on the way to the valley is breathtaking. It seems that with everything moderation is key. What kind of tunnel visions do you get? Do they overtake your day? Do they help you to get creative? What do you do when you know you need to get away from tunnel vision for a bit? I would love to hear from you. Until next time:

I woke up this morning and realized I don’t have what it takes to sit back and be average.

Stomping My Foot

Why can’t things just stay the same?

Back when the kids were younger and we were younger as parents it seemed so hard, and then the kids grew to be teenagers, and that’s when we realized how easy we had it when they were kids. I am all in for a good cry and that was something that I had yesterday morning. It was one of those crys that made you tired afterwards but it released so much built up stress and worries that it was refreshing to have. I really do have a good life with not much to complain about, but there are times when it seems that everything is thrown at me all at once. I deal with it and I deal with it until it is bottled up enough the tears just start to flow. My hubby is sweet enough to realize that I need the cry (and smart enough to let me have it), because he knows that afterwards I can get back to the “regularly scheduled program”.

So what was the big deal this time? Change. Plain and simple. I don’t do change that well, especially when it means that I don’t get to have some semblance of control. Things in my family have changed, not for the bad but different from what I would consider normal and so I must comply and pray that as I loose part of the control I had that God always had the control and still has total control. My work atmosphere changed, I went from working at two hospitals (one with multiple doctors, other with just one) and reducing my hours so that family time could increase. Charlie our newest addition to the family was a fun and somewhat different change in the sense that she isn’t your normal puppy. She is crate trained already (at least at night) but doesn’t understand fully that we are not here to harm her but to help her. Must be hard to be a dog but have to learn how to be one, thank you Jorj for teaching her “the way”. As my family knows, I absolutely hate to be cold (yes I know I live in a state that has cold winters), so when the weather changes to below 70 degrees I tend to voice my opinion a little bit more. You see all of these changes are not bad, and for the most part have enriched my life.

White puppy sleeping on bed
Charlie the pretzel puppy

Stomping my foot may feel good in the moment but does it really help? Maybe if with each stomp I learned how to deal with the different changes, but I haven’t gotten that info yet and I have been stomping my foot for a while now. I think change makes you realize that you don’t have as much control as you thought you did. Families change all of the time, maybe not in people coming and going but in the maturing of the minds and the “fingering out who they are moments”. Oh to have my kids stay in the state of mind where they don’t have opinions and they just go with what I tell them to do. Wait, no that would be terrible, I love talking to my kids about their thoughts and beliefs, especially in the world that is going on around them. I just wish that they didn’t have such “worldly views” at times. My momma heart has a hard time with that. Stomping my foot won’t change that they are growing up, it just makes my foot hurt.

Mother bear fighting with cub
Momma bear having a momma moment with cub

Changing jobs was something that needed to be done. Stomping my foot wasn’t fixing problems and neither was I. Reducing my hours and working for just one hospital was a good choice for both hospitals as well as myself. I learned that with me being gone at the multiple doctor hospital others that hadn’t been doing their jobs to the best of their abilities had to step up and do them. I may have been a crutch, and so by me leaving I can hope that they will learn and grow and reach their full potential. It’s so hard when you know what someone is capable of but they refuse to embrace their training and knowledge. Maybe now this will happen. At my full time job (the single doctor practice) I may stomp my foot for some of the same reasons but the potential for people to grow and learn is so much greater. My reduced hours meant more to me than anything though, and since much of what I do is mobile I can have my kids (one at a time ) come with me. Something I haven’t been able to do at a job before. No stomping feet here.

People are forced into change all of the time. How they deal with it reveals the kind of person they are. Complaining, comparing and accusing the person or situation of causing you ill because of the change only leads you down the path of being bitter. Embracing the change and knowing that you must move forward will bring hard times probably but also growth. Ask the cancer patient who fought and won. Ask the single parent who supported his family and thrived. As the new business owner who buckled down, worked hard and succeeded. The change was not easy, but they chose to press on, move forward and stomp their feet in the direction they needed to go. Until next time:

Runners exalt the marathon as a public test of private will, when months or years of solitary training, early mornings, lost weekends, rain and pain mature into triumph or surrender. That’s one reason the race-day crowds matter, the friends who come to cheer and stomp and flap their signs and push the runners on.

Nancy Gibbs

Away From The Everyday

Ever wish you could just get away for a bit?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to get away from my life. I have a great job, great friends, my family is always looking out for me and I really have nothing to complain about. Lately the stress has a been a little higher but only because of the different roles that must be played when life continues to march forward. This past weekend I got to get away, a friend let us borrow her cabin for the weekend and so we packed our bags, had my bestie come over to spend the night with the kids and animals and the hubby drove into the woods. It was nice, it was calm, the dinner was yummy and the walks with talks were just what I needed. We even got some funny texts from the kids showing they were having a good time too. If anything this weekend showed that we need to schedule more time alone as well as with our family.

All too often we push ourselves to work harder, stay longer, prove ourselves. The world demands that we listen to what is going on, even tries to get us involved with the different stances that we are bombarded with. To say I would love to stay in my own little bubble, my own little world would be an understatement, but since I am a living breathing person, who lives in an ever changing world I must be a part of it. Some things I don’t agree with, others I do with my whole heart. The goal to have when being forced into knowing what is going on in the world is to find your place, your peace and do it daily. I go on walks with my hubby and Jorj each morning. Our new puppy Charlie does not like the cold weather or the leash so she stays home for the walks. Today even, while on our walk we found credit cards in a person’s yard. We knew we couldn’t leave them there, so we took them home found the owners (thanks Facebook) and got the cards back to them. Sadly it was through a stolen car that their cards found and promptly thrown out the window, but they were able to get some peace in knowing those cards would not be used. The world snuck into our walk, but we were able to help the couple at least slightly.

I used to think that if I didn’t watch the news, read the newspaper, look on Facebook, or any other social media that I would be safe from knowing what was happening around me. For the most part that worked, but then I would go to work, or I would talk with my neighbor, or my hubby would promptly inform me on the daily news. I thought if I didn’t know what was happening I could lower my stress levels. In part my plan worked, but then when the human interaction happened my stress levels would go up again because it seemed there was nothing good happening. So I started to look for the good around me. I noticed that when I looked for the good I was able to “get away from the everyday”. Recently I was in a communications class where the professor talked about a little test she did. Since we all still wear our masks it was hard to see when someone was smiling at her or when she smiled at someone. So she actively started to use her eyes to express herself. She started to “smile” with her eyes and deliberately over did her “eye emotions” so people would notice. What she found was that she connected more with people, even got them to “smile” back with their eyes. It started conversations, and she realized with just that small gesture she found the good in the moments.

Where do you find your good? There is a lot in the world that can cause stress and unhappiness. So what do you choose to focus on? How do you “get away from the everyday”? Are there things that trap you in the blah of life? I know that if I don’t find something every day that takes my focus off of the world, I start to feel it emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. So finding my good, finding my smile and my joy is imperative for my overall wellbeing. What we allow to rule us can be the thing that rises us up or keeps us down. So what is it you allow to be in your life? Think on it and choose to find the good. Until next time:

There is always something that can change the thoughts you are thinking. If you choose to let a bad decision/thought rule you, you put yourself in prison. Break free by finding the good in each situation, in doing so you are training yourself to find joy.

The Quiet Of The Moment

The end to a chaotic week

This past week was anything but quiet. I always thought of myself as a somewhat quiet person, getting loud only when the moment requires it. I actually can feel my stress level go up when someone starts to yell or gets upset. I just like my quiet and peace. It is definitely the introvert in me. My world is not quiet though. I have a busy job, that requires I talk to people and then go and have a calm demeanor when dealing with their pets. I have 3 kids that are anything but quiet, and actually had one of them admit to me that they were not comfortable one night when they woke up and realized that our house was really quiet. I admit I didn’t know how to take that news because she was basically saying even in the middle of the night our house it not quiet, which is odd to me since we are all asleep. So what does it mean to be quiet? When we go to the library and are too loud the librarian says “Shhhhhhh!” to us and we lower our voices. When there is someone sleeping we try and walk lighter and keep our voices down. But being quiet could also mean being calmer. Our new puppy Charlie does way better when we are calm with her. Loud noises make he skittish, and when we talk at a higher volume she tucks her tail and hunches low. For people like me, talking quiet to people who are upset or to people who have made me upset helps deflate the situation.

As I said though this week was busy, which meant it was also not quiet. There were people working and moving quick, and getting things done. There were dogs barking, cats meowing and even a guinea pig squeaking. With all of this going on, receptionist are asking questions, talking to clients and taking payments. Assistants are moving animals, cleaning cages and holding animals. When I am in my car going to a client’s house the music is playing, the phone is dinging and ringing and Google maps is just trying to get me to turn right in 500 feet so I don’t have to turn around. Once work is done, I drive home and step inside a house that has dogs playing, girls talking about something that happened on Twitter, and the boy and his dad in an intense game of Fortnight. Amid the “glad you are homes” and the changing of clothes I will hear about everyone’s day within a 5 minute period of being home. Dinner will get done and we will eat, and then a more peaceful night? Mostly, with stories still to be told and school problems to solve the night goes on. Now I am not saying I don’t enjoy the interactions that I have with my coworkers and family, but there is a point, and maybe you have it as well, where it feels like my brain just puts up this wall and from that point on nothing will get past it until I have a chance to unwind. This week has felt like the wall has been up a lot, almost like I was in survival mode. Get through each day just so I could make it to the next day. To say I needed a break and some quiet was an understatement. I think when there is so much “information” thrown at you all the time that is really all you can do, survive.

This weekend was my reset button. A good friend of mine has a cabin in the woods. This weekend my hubby and I were able to get away. My best friend came to the house to spend the night with the kids and the animals and we drove away looking forward to a peaceful weekend. Heck even my intermittent fasting app was telling me I needed this with one of the weekly challenges being do some self care. Well BodyFast I did! Part of Living Joyfully is to realize when your body is going into survival mode and do something about it. Self care has to happen, when you are the type of person who likes to care for others and be there for them, you have to make sure to do the same for yourself. Even if it means scheduling it in your calendar. This trip to the cabin was supposed to happen for our anniversary back in November. Covid and other events prevented the trip back then, and moved the trip to this weekend. The cabin was perfect. A wood burning fireplace, big comfy couches, a steak dinner and alone time with the hubby. We didn’t have a worry or care in the world. The weekend ended with a long walk in the snow, and good conversations. It was a great reset, it drained the survival mode from me and replaced it with a relaxed mode. I have always found peace in the woods, whether camping in a tent or sleeping in a cabin. Sometimes it takes me a while to realize I need a reset to relax mode, and I suffer for it. You always hear the saying “you need to listen to your body” but it seems that is the hardest “command” to follow. Do you ever find yourself going into “survival mode”? How do you cope with it? As important as it is, even the people that are most successful at it are that way because they have made it a habit, something they are not willing to give up. So is taking care of yourself important enough for you? How can you make it happen for you? I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time:

You are worth the quiet moment, you are worth the deeper breath, you are worth the time it takes to slow down. Be still and rest

Morgan Harper Nicols

And Then There Was Steak

Why does food always smell better when you can’t eat it?

Today is day four of this week’s intermittent fasting. The plan made for this week is no dinners but breakfast and lunch is ok. This is by far the hardest of the plans that I go through. I love my breakfasts and lunches and have all the willpower in the world until I step into the house after a long day at work. My wonderful hubby makes sure dinner is ready to go an on the table pretty close to the time I get home, so the smells I get bombarded with are wonderful. We like to sit down together as a family for dinners so I sit at the table too so that I can interact with the family. Reason number two why this plan is so difficult. I have enticing food on the table and I have to use whatever willpower I have left to not eat it. Sometimes I fail (Tuesday) but mostly I try and have conversations to keep my mind off of it.

So why would I put myself through this? My health is important to me. We live in a world of instant gratification. We want things now and we want them ready to use/eat. We live in a fast paced world where our health tends to take the back burner. When I started working with intermittent fasting I was working two part time jobs, trying to be the best momma/wife I could be and I was taking online courses to further my education. To say I was busy is an understatement. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t loosing the last stubborn 10 pounds, I felt bloated and tired on my off times, and I couldn’t quite kick the mild cold/allergy I seemed to have. I worked out at least 3 times a week and walked/ran daily. I took my nutritional supplements daily and they helped, but not enough to make me feel better. I ate pretty healthy but definitely had/have a sweet tooth. I was getting frustrated. So when my church did their yearly week of fasting I looked into ways that I could do it safely and came across intermittent fasting and some programs I could try.

First thing I learned: Go slowly and give yourself grace, especially if you love food. In my house if you are a guest, I try and feed you. I grew up in a household where we ate while we visited and it usually consisted of snack foods like cakes, cookies and chips. The table is where the deep conversations happened as well as the ones are so funny your belly hurts from laughing so hard. As an adult that didn’t change much, other than the amount of food that was on the table. Once I started working with Advocare and using their products I started to see the importance of healthier foods. I also started to see that conversations and times gathered with friends didn’t always have to have food involved. When I added in intermittent fasting to my routine, I started to see that food was just food, just needed to sustain energy but not needed all of the time. The second thing I learned from the fasting program is that my health started to get better. Even though I had to learn to be hungry, I had more energy and I slept a whole lot better at night. I also didn’t feel sick as often, which really was the shocker to me because I was actually adding more stress to my body with the fasting but because of the fasting my immune system got stronger. I saw that I ate healthier foods when I got to eat and I also drank a lot more water. The cool thing is that the stress that is put on your body with fasting releases the energy stored in excess fat reserves, the bad thing is if you are already super stressed out and you add this stress onto your body, your body starts working against you. Third thing I learned: rest and relaxing is very, very important. Taking time for yourself is important for your health. If you can’t take care of yourself than you really can’t take care of others, nor should you.

This weeks program of skipping dinners is hard. I know this and I have failed a couple of times already, but I also know that it’s ok. What came with this weekly program was a challenge to rest at least one night this week. I need to find a day where I can find a few hours for myself. No “hey mom” from the kids. No “Heather can you come help” from the hubby. Simply a time for myself to do what I want. Nap, read a book, take a walk with the dogs, whatever it is that brings me rest and peace. My goal is to meet that challenge. Intermittent fasting is hard, it can be bad for people who have major health conditions and should not be started unless a discussion with a doctor has been had. It has more good benefits than bad though and helps set routines when routines are hard to come by. It causes people to stop and think about what they are putting in their body, because there is cause and effect. I love sweets but if I have a candy bar after fasting for 12hrs my heart races, my stomach hurts and I start to feeling sluggish. It’s not a good thing. Your health mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually should be important to you. Intermittent fasting is just one tool to get to the best you. So what is holding you back? Until next time:

Fasting is a personal journey YOU are not competing with anyone.

It Almost Didn’t Happen

It’s when you don’t want to go that you really should go

When I was younger my mom and dad had us go to church every Sunday and Wednesday nights was a mid week church for kids of all ages. My dad worked a lot and usually had only weekends off so a lot of times it was my mom taking us to church. For the most part we were ok with it but when my siblings and I got a little bit older we started to question why it was we had to go all the time but dad didn’t. I don’t remember if there really ever was a good answer to the question of why dad didn’t go but I do remember dad telling us on numerous occasions “It’s when you don’t want to go that you really should go” and oddly enough he was right about it every time. Dad did start going with us more and more the older we got and even started helping in the church nursery. In some ways it was like he was making up for times when he couldn’t be with us at church when we were younger. The thing about my dad is he is a very hard worker, he loves his family and he loves the Lord. I didn’t always understand his ways, but I know a lot of the way he and mom brought us up makes me who I am today and I am grateful.

Yesterday though was one of those days where we had good intentions for a great day of getting stuff done around the house, playing games with each other as a family and trying to get our new puppy to like the leash. Saturday night we decided to go to the 8:30 service so that we could have the rest of the day to get other stuff done. As morning approached our special dog Jorj had a seizure. This is not new to us and usually he has one and is done. The problem with yesterday morning was that his seizure was at 4:30am and the new puppy Charlie was no longer sleeping peacefully. So after getting Jorj settled down and ready to go back to sleep we had to place Miss Charlie back in her kennel which meant she had to sleep again which was not in her plans. We shut down the lights, made sure the animals all went outside to potty, said our goodnights and proceeded to listen to Charlie scratch and whine for a little while before she realized we were not budging. Sleep came, but so did the alarm to give Jorj his after seizure medications. By the time we were all awake to think about church it was something we were highly debating on doing. Then my dad’s saying came to mind and with that we jumped into the car and got to the church on time.

The sermon wasn’t super special but it was powerful. How often do we allow what goes on around us to dictate how we act and respond. When we feel persecuted for who we are or how we act, sometimes we find that it is easier to conform to the world around us than it is to stand up and stand out. At one of my jobs I had many, many years ago, I worked with a group of people who loved to talk and a make fun of people as they passed by our shop. In the beginning it was so easy to join in with them because I really wanted to fit in but over time I started to see that it didn’t matter if I fit in or not, it just wasn’t right what they were doing and I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore, so I stopped. I still had to work with these guys and gals but I didn’t have to participate in what they were doing, so when they would start I would walk away and start working in another part of the shop. Eventually they started to notice that I didn’t do or say what they were doing and saying and a friend of mine asked me why and I just said I didn’t want to. I started to get noticed in a different way, and that was ok with me.

A song that was sung today talked about honoring and serving Jesus in EVERY situation and I found I couldn’t truthfully sing those words, because I don’t do what they say in EVERY situation I am in. I am a Christian but I am not surrounded by Christians. I work with people who have different beliefs than me, and that is ok, but I also work with people who think that all Christians are hypocrites and that is hard to handle. So sometimes I find it easier to “do as they do, or talk as they talk” and that isn’t very honoring to Jesus. Luckily I am not perfect, and I am trying to honor and serve in EVERY situation. Even better is that Love covers all and since Christ is Love I can know that I am not in control and neither are you. All too often we are so hard on ourselves and we give up. We don’t realize that there is grace involved as well as love. We will make mistakes, we will have days were we have to say “I will still go” even when we really don’t want to go, and we will find that was the day we really needed to go. Excuses can be made all the time, but when we decide to get past those excuses and live the life Christ calls us to live, we will find joy and we will start Living Joyfully. Until next time:

Joyfully go out each and every day and you will find happiness will follow.

From Oops To Puppy

I just lost track of time

This morning was supposed to be a wet and cold morning so instead of getting up early my hubby and I decided to sleep in and wait out the storm. When we finally did get up I wanted to get a workout in before the walk since I knew I wouldn’t have time afterwards. My thirty minute workout turned into a 45 minute workout with not time left for a walk sadly. I am not sure about you but there are certain things that help me get my day going. Some people have to have coffee, others a good breakfast, and still others need a good run or a few smacks on the alarm clock so a few extra minutes of sleep can be had. Mine is a cup of Spark, my vitamins and a walk with my dog and hubby. It gets us both out of the house and though we don’t always talk, it’s in the silence that we connect too. So when I planned poorly this morning I missed out on my walk. Admittedly I was a little out of sorts today. It’s like the day didn’t run as smoothly as it would have had I had my walk, I guess I am more a dog than I thought.

I apologized to my hubby and headed to work, knowing that it was going to be a busy one. Now in the last couple of days Tim (the hubby) got it into his head that we needed to get a puppy or at least a companion dog for our Jorj boy. We had talked about it a few months ago but realized we didn’t really have enough time for another dog, but now things are a little different since I will have only one job and the kids are home more with school. The idea was given more ground to grow and from that point on, Tim went looking. Our local humane society didn’t really help much since they had the positive problem of not having very many dogs, and the ones they did have were adopted quickly. That did not sway Tim, he kept looking and I talked to some of my vet friends to let them know we were looking. Let me tell you, the day wasn’t even halfway over before Tim started texting me about some dogs he found on Facebook and even a dog that was brought to the humane society. When he gets determined to do something he does it. So by the time I was driving home from work, I got a text saying he really wanted me to meet “Charlie”

“Charlie” as we have decided to call her, came to us free, which can be a scary thing if you don’t know the reason behind a pet being free. She is a cuddle bug for sure and isn’t confident yet in the surroundings we have put her in, understandably. She managed to poop in the car on the way home and vomit after the initial vet visit, I would not expect anything less. To think I know what is going through this little girl’s mind would be silly other than, she woke up in a really full and crazy household and is now in a quieter calmer household. Her new friend Jorj doesn’t know what to do with her yet and she hasn’t even met the cat Lilly. She does like to snuggle into Tabby’s lap and has made the couch a nice little bed. We shall see how much sleep we get tonight.

I could say that this was my fault, I mean I did mismanage my time this morning and missed my morning walk, but if this is the consequence of my ooops than I can’t say I won’t do it again. The kids are excited to take “Charlie” camping, she is going to be having lots of walks and when Jorj decides to warm up to her they are going to be best buds. Tomorrow I may need a double dose of Spark, Tim may need extra strong coffee but when it comes down to it, I think it will be worth it. Here’s to a long friendship between Jorj and Charlie and here’s to a cute addition to our family. Until next time:

Open your heart to me like the pedals of a flower greeting the morning sun, bask in the warmth of a new beginning, learn to love again

Christy Ann Martine

As Playful As A Puppy

This weekend I had to attend some Zoom classes for my hospice and palliative care training. Four hours each day all on communication. Now I am not saying I didn’t enjoy the class it is more that they started pretty early in the morning and if you are waiting for your Spark to kick in and the instructor is requiring the course to be interactive, you tend to give input that doesn’t necessarily go with the question. This was me, I was the one that admittedly didn’t pay as much attention as I should have to the topic at hand and then I was called upon to give an example. I thought I had hit it spot on, and I did if the answer they wanted was about future goals that the client wanted, rather than how we could help in the here and now. In my defense my lack of attention wasn’t entirely my fault. I had locked myself away in my bedroom to do the classroom, but I could still hear parts of what was going on in the house.

Barking and laughter is what hit my ears just before I was asked to give the example. I had gotten some examples written down on my worksheet but in a fluster to find what was needed to be said I looked at the wrong section. No big deal though, we got through the section and I went back to actively listening, and luckily the next time I heard the laughing and barking was after my class was over. When next it did happen I was sitting on the couch when my daughter came out with Jorj’s (my dog) favorite toy filled with his favorite treat. Right in front of my eyes my dog turned into a puppy on steroids and springs. Tabby was playing keep away with Jorj’s toy and he was bound and determined to get it. He was jumping, diving and pushing up against her to get his toy. His eyes were dilated and his bark was loud. Tabby’s laughter was almost as loud as the screeches that were intermixed. Jorj jumped on almost all of the surfaces in our living room to reach his toy and was going to get it whether he knocked Tabby over or grabbed in from her hand. It was a fun game of keep away that slowed for just a bit when he finally got the toy to have it taken away again to start the game again. I love days like I had this weekend. The game Tabby played with Jorj turned into a lively board game with the family, which turned back into the keep away game with Jorj. We as a family get so busy during the week and especially now that the kids are going back into in person schooling today, our family needs days like this weekend where we just play with each other.

Some of my favorite times with my family are when we let our guards down and we just play. My hubby and son get rough and tumble with each other which draws out my middle daughter from her room to get into the mix. My oldest daughter and I tend to not be as adventurous in our game playing as the other three unless it comes to the dog and Tabby playing and then we all get out of the way. My play of choice is to get the family involved in a board game and we got some great new ones for Christmas with our favorite one being about stupid deaths and throwing soft burritos at each other (leave a comment if you want the game names). Sometimes it is so fun to play like a puppy. You get the giggles and next thing you know you are having side cramps because you are laughing so hard. I have written blog posts before about taking your cues from your pets and I am repeating that advice again today. How simple to find joy in a game of keep away, or chasing a ball. How simple to take a nap on a Sunday or go on a walk with the family. After Jorj and Tabby had finished their second round of keep away, Jorj promptly got up on his favorite couch to take a short nap. I sat next to him and the sweet boy rested his head on my arm and started to snore. I took his advice and propped my head on a pillow and started to snore away too.

Play like a puppy and then rest like one too. Joy comes from that too. Before my class ended each day the instructor instructed us to do something for ourselves the rest of the day. She knew that most of us had already worked a long week and had made it a point to give up our weekend (at least the morning) to come to class. She placed importance on taking care of ourselves. I am not sure if everyone took her advice, but I know I did. I played like a puppy, I took a nap, I exercised and I was present with my family, because of that I know I can face my week. When is the last time you played like a puppy or at least napped like one? When is the last time you were actually present with someone? When is the last time you let your guard down and just had fun? If it’s been a while, maybe you should change that hum? Until next time:

Laugh like you need it, play like a child does, and love like they deserve it. Surprise people, and see them open up to the fun.

It’s All In The Smile

I don’t know what you are talking about

My daughter started playing with Minecraft again, and found out our neighbor was also on it, which led them to start talking again. The neighbor kids and our kids have grown up together and we literally had the “talk with the neighbor” over the fence conversations a lot. We even continplated making a gate that led to each other’s back yards. My adventursome hubby even said he would do a zipline from roof to roof, but then a few years back the neighbor decided to build a bigger fence around his property and that ended the over the fence converstations. Sadly as well, as the kids grew, interests went different ways and so they stopped talking with each other. Then Mincraft came into the picture and all of a sudden the conversations picked up, at least with my daughter and my neighbor’s son. The more they talked, the more it became apparent that there was the start of a crush going on.

I am lucky enough that my daughter talks to me and shares her life. So when she admitted that she had a small crush, I started to smile. Now in my mind it was your normal everyday smile, but to her it was a smile that said “ohhhhhh how cute” and “I am so excited to hear you are talking to him”. After this smile would appear on my face she would turn turnup red and start a giggle fit like you wouldn’t believe. I started to realize when I was doing this smile so that I could pull it out occationally at get the giggle fest started all over again.

My middle daughter has another type of smile, it’s the kind that says “I’m innocent, but not really”. Usually this smile comes out when she has created something in her room. She is at the stage where she is seeing who she is, and where she fits in in the world. She is also at the stage where testing her boundaries is a huge part of her everyday life. First and foremost, that girl could hear a flea fart. We whisper her name in our back bedroom and she comes flying out of her room which is in the front of the house. Most of the time Leah’s smile is just that, a smile, when she chooses to bless us with one. Normally though, we see her smile when she is doing something that resembles the WWF ring with her brother, and sometimes her dad. I don’t think she even knows she has given us the elusive smile but it is there in between the laughter and the headlocks.

Then there is my youngest, the smiles that he tends to give us are innocent enough, but sometimes can mean things like “I’m being nice, can I buy this?” or “I know it’s time for bed but I just wanted to snuggle, and giggle a little with you”. He knows he has mastered the smile, but thankfully I get the smile that comes from when I come home from work and it lights up his face and comes with a hug. I will always welcome those. Smiles that light up the room are the best smiles ever! I am sure you have met people over the years that can change the whole atmostphere of a gathering by smiling and being genuine.

This world more than ever needs a smile. Everyone has something going on that they may not talk about. I know we are not all in the same boat. Heck some of our boats are litte while others are big yaughts. We are all trying to get to shore. We are all fighting the storms that rage around us. So with this, since we don’t know what other people are going through, give a little smile to someone. Heck if you know the person give a hug. I wrote about my friend Mary and her son David in my blog “Just Keep Waiting” who gave the best hugs ever! They could squeeze the sad from you. Smiles can be soft, they can be mischievious, they could be bright, and even just friendly. It wil cost you absolutely nothing. If anything you might just get one back, and realize that you needed one as much as the person you gave yours too. Until next time:

Use your smile to change the world, don’t let the world change your smile

Chinese proverb

Change Is Coming

Why does it seem so hard?

Change happens all around us, and once we think we are done with it, something else pops up to cause us to take a step back and re-adjust. The new year is only 4 days old and we have already had a stimulus check promised, a snow storm and here soon a new walk in life. There seems to be a fear that surrounds the word “change”, and there are people out there that are known to not take change well. During the Christmas break, my always moving husband decided to rearrange the kitchen cupboards, create and build a desk for our daughter and install almost entirely by himself some much needed cages at the clinic I work at. He has created a lot of changes, but when it comes to changes happening around him or to him he doesn’t handle them as easily as when he is the one making the changes. When it comes down to it, there is a lack of control for the person the change is being made to and it is uncomfortable.

Not all change is bad though. Yes, there may be an uncomfortable challenge that comes with the change but that doesn’t make the situation bad. Over the couple of years I have been working two jobs. For those who follow this blog, this is not news to you. I have been able to handle the work load pretty well up until this last year when Covid hit and the veterinary world got busier than we already were. I went from working about 30-40hrs a weeks to working about 40-55hrs a week in between the two jobs on top of being a momma/wife and trying to have a life outside of work. I then got the notion that I needed to get some specialized training in Hospice and Palliative Care for animals, queue the starting of a year and a half of training. I love all of the different aspects of my life. Both jobs have people I have fun working with, and my family is where my happy place is. The decision to let one go had to be made and so it came down one of my two jobs. Now here comes the hard part of saying good bye to one part of my life so the other parts of my life can thrive.

This is where happiness goes hand in hand with joy. In order to find my happiness again and not be so tired all the time something has be be sacrificed. The hard part of change. And so I will go and give a two week notice to my office manager, I will work hard, and laugh hard those last two weeks and then I will walk away knowing that it was for the best. I will cry, and I will miss my co-workers but it will be a change for the good. I will be able to really get into my training, I will be home when my kids get home from school, and I will have the flexibility in my week to start doing things I enjoy doing, like creating and reading and the ever present exercising that I love doing.

I have learned over the years that you are the only person (with God) that can find your peace. There will be those who try and take it away, there will be situations that will try and make you anxious, but when you know your joy and your strength you can breeze past those people and situations. This is a new year, with new experiences waiting to be enjoyed. You have one life to live, so if you find that you are working your life away and not finding the joy in even the small things, it might be time to make a change. January comes with New Year’s resolutions and at least this year stimulus checks. Instead of promising yourself that this is the year you’re going to loose that stubborn 20 pounds, why not instead chose a word or phrase that you want to try and live your life by. Courage, peace, happiness, change, even choosing Joy are all words to strive to have. Loose that 20 pounds even, but do it because it can be good for you, but also who else might benefit from it? Kids, family, hubby, wife? Look ahead and know change is inevitable, it may not always be easy, and some of it will be downright hard, but go at it with courage and strength from above and you will make it. Until next time:

“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”

― Roy T. Bennett

Choose Your Hard

Chocolate cheesecake? Cinnamon cheesecake?

Oh the decision I am faced with today. My week has been a little bit hard and today was just long. I am an emotional eater and will on occasion eat because I am tired. We did a secrete Santa gift exchange last week and my most favorite person ever (I have a lot, I know) gave me the gift my heart (ok my stomach) desired. Four, yes count them four whole, yummy looking, irresistible cheesecakes. Since my name was put on the package I know I don’t have share them with anyone, this is my first “hard” of the week. Who do I deem worthy enough to share my cheesecakes with? My hubby is so out, but mainly because he hates cheesecake. The same goes for my kids, though Leah is starting to change her tune. Co-workers maybe, but there are only a few of those that I like enough to give a slice to. If only my sis lived here, or even my bestie, they would appreciate the savory-ness of my cheesecake gift. Then comes the other problem, what if I choose instead to eat all of these cheesecakes myself? The saying “Being chubby is hard, but so is staying in shape, so choose your hard” rings through my ears but yet I sit here eating a slice of cheesecake as I write.

I was at a client’s house today, and as we were talking she was saying she has lived in our small town for only a few months. She struggled with the holidays because of Covid and all the holiday events being cancelled which brought loneliness of not knowing anyone, and not having a way of getting involved anywhere. I was able to relate with her due to going through a part of what she is dealing with when I first moved here. If you are not a social butterfly, moving to a new location where you don’t know anyone can be a struggle, then add in Covid and it makes it nearly impossible. But then you choose your hard. She chose to meet her neighbors, she engaged in conversations with her pet’s veterinarian and staff (me) and she realized that she had options. She could still go back to the town she moved from if things didn’t work out here or she could just keep moving forward here and when things start to open up more, get out and meet some people and get involved.

cheesecake on a white plate.
Three women laughing with each other

A friend of mine started working two jobs about 3 years ago. At first it was going well, both were part time jobs, she had some flexibility with both of them and her family life wasn’t suffering because of them. Then her circumstances changed, one of her jobs got busier (which is a good thing), which meant she was working more there. She kept the same hours with the second job, but started to see that she did not have a whole lot of free time. Then her family life started to suffer, though slightly it was still something she noticed and knew she had to fix the situation. She had to choose her hard, keep working both jobs and loose family time or move to one job and have more time with the family. Luckily her and her husband worked hard this past year to pay down their bills, so the decision to leave her second job to go full time at her first job was a no brainer. She would be able to work still in a profession she loves but have the freedoms to be with her family more.

Sometimes choosing your hard is easy, other times not so much. With all the uncertainty in the world it would be easier to sit at home, covered in a blanket and do something productive like eating a slice of cheesecake. I think that is choosing the easy way out. You have to work hard to succeed. Whether that’s scheduling a morning walk into your routine, or going through your cupboards to get rid of all the snack foods. If the reason is important enough to you, you’ll find a way to do the “hard” you are up against. Don’t have the tunnel vision, unless you are visiting Yosemite, look ahead and plan for what could be if you start working on your “hard” now. Until next time:

Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard. Obesity is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard. Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard. Communication is hard. Not communicating is hard. Choose your hard. Life will never be easy. It will always be hard. But we can choose our hard.

Pondered Them In Her Heart

The heart of a woman

This last week we celebrated Christmas. It was a time of reflection, a time of praising God and a time to get together with family to enjoy each other’s company and good food. When the month of December started I challenged my two girls to read the book of Luke with me. It wasn’t an easy task for them because it meant reading a chapter a day, and some of the chapters were longer and harder to understand than others. What the goal was, was to read through the life of Christ from birth till death so that the joy of Christmas could be fully felt. What I didn’t realize would happen with me was that I got stuck on chapter 2. I read through the whole book and was able to talk over the chapters with my girls but it was chapter 2 that I kept going back to.

In my previous blog I Dare You To I wrote about Mary, Jesus’ mom. She was young a virgin and betroth to a carpenter in the town of Nazarene. She was also the one the God called to be the mom of Jesus. She was to be the one that would give birth, change His diapers, nurse Him and watch Him grow into a man of God. First He had to learn to be a boy and to do as His parents told Him to do. Mary was the first official mom to deal with the stress of being a good mother, not that God needed her to be a perfect mom, but I am sure the pressure to be the best mom she could be was real. Mary also got to feel the kicks to her bladder that her baby made while in her womb, and other than God she is the closest person Jesus would know as a human since He was closest to her heart while in the womb. When it was time for Jesus to be born, Joseph and Mary had travelled a long way to just be counted in a census. Mary was in her third trimester when they started the journey and gave birth while still in the town of David waiting to be counted. If you are a mom you know, when it is time to give birth you want to be as comfortable as you can be and you want your baby to be born healthy and happy without complications. I can’t imagine Mary being that comfortable in a dirty stable full of straw that probably poked and pricked at her as she layed down. Poor Joseph had to be as strong and in control as he could be as a new dad, because he was probably the only one there to help Mary with the birthing process. Nowhere in the story does it say that they complained about their surroundings, or that they were hungry or about Mary’s pain. Chapter two points more to the fact that out of love they held on to each other, helped each other and gave Jesus as a new baby a warm safe place to lie His head.

This is where Mary’s heart comes into play. While they were taking care of all that had to be taken care after Jesus’ birth, God was doing His thing. All I can think of is the proud papa that makes everyone look at His new child, except this was on a celestial level and it was sharing the joy with shepherds. Imagine bedding down for the night, the sheep are making their noises in the distance. While the sheep start to sleep the group of shepherds that took the night shift got ready to get to work, leaning on their shepherds staffs. Then as all seems to grow silent a bright light comes from heaven and the whole night sky is like day but instead of just light now there are angels all around singing praises to the newborn King. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would be able to keep my senses about me, but these shepherds did. They were told of the birth and that they should go seek out this newborn babe. When they found Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus they praised the Lord while Mary pondered these things in her heart.

Mary so humble and so mild became the mother of the Savior of the world, and yet she stayed humble and mild. She didn’t boast about who she was and how she became the chosen one. Instead two times in the book of Luke chapter 2 it is told how when something miraculous happened she “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart”. The first time was when the shepherds found their Son lying in the manger and the second time was when she and Joseph thought they lost Him in Jerusalem and when they did find him at the synagogue teaching the found He was the one teaching the teachers. Never once in the story of Jesus did Mary ever get elevated to the “great mother of Jesus”. Instead after chapter two it seems she somewhat fades from the story. She goes on to live her life as a carpenter’s wife is a small town. She wasn’t ever given statues to elevate her status, she was poor, and had other children with Joseph. We are left to believe she lived a God fearing humble life.

Jesus came from humble beginnings. He was never rich, never forced His power and He showed others what it meant to have a humble strength. Mary taught Him as a child in her home to respect His parents, learn the ways of Abraham and to work hard and respect His elders. Mary turned out to be the very best mom for Him. I am a momma of three kids. I am blessed for sure. The pressures are real though and to see and hear what my kids go through is hard but I couldn’t imagine knowing that one of my kids would be the sacrifice for all mankind and still remain sane. The one thing I can say I have copied from Mary is pondering things in my heart that have happened because of my kids or that my kids have done. I find great joy in my kids, I know I am just a small part in the way they will turn out, and yet daily I am amazed at what they accomplish and how they seem to be there for each other and those around them. Finding joy anywhere these days can be hard especially if you are not grounded in something. Our pastor yesterday challenged the congregation to open their Bibles daily and read. In all things that are happening in the world, the Bible has the answers on how to face them, overcome them and find joy in the moment. Mary found joy in the moment and she kept that joy close to her heart to ponder on daily. The challenge is there, find your joy, find it by reading the Bible, find it by trying, but start by looking. Until next time:

And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying in which was told them concerning this Child.  And all those who heard it marveled and those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.   Luke 2:16:19

Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.  So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us?  Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously".  And He said to them, "Why did you see Me?  Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"  But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.  Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.

Merry Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas and cinnamon rolls needed to be made. I have my mother-in-laws recipe and try as I may over the last 18 years I have yet to perfect the gooiness of the recipe. Into the fridge they go to rise and the hope that the quadruple batch of goo is enough. The excitement is in the air as the kids anticipate the un-wrapping of gifts but first it’s the candlelight service to remind us of the true reason for the season.

To say I was able to sit down and write over the last couple of days would be silly. I wanted to on Wednesday but instead was there for a patient in need. Yesterday being Christmas Eve, the day started off with heading to work to find out my friend/boss made up the whole day and surprised her staff with a Christmas party that had games, food and ended with prizes and an awesome embroidered work jacket. There is something about the Christmas season that is so special to me. Growing up we would get together as a family at grandma’s house on Christmas Eve. All the aunts, uncles and cousins would show up with food for the potluck. Aunt Betty’s fudge was amazing and smell of the turkey could be smelled all through the house. My cousin Leah and I would play with the slinky down the steps following close behind sliding down on our butts. Three long tables were set up in her “back room” and we would all cram around to eat on our favorite foods. Stories were told and laughter was loud. We would end our day together around the Christmas tree opening presents.

Over years the get together at grandma’s would get smaller with kids going to college and family units spitting but the love was always still there. Even when I went to college in northern Cali I would make sure to get back down to South Cali for Christmas so that I could surround myself with the love the was there. Christmas is always about the church services too. It was a way to rejoice and sing about what happened on that day so long ago. The story of Christ’s birth is so amazing to me. A young couple having to travel so far from home just to be counted by a harsh ruler that wanted to tax them more. The young woman so pregnant she probably couldn’t see her feet much less use them properly from them being so swollen. The way in which they traveled was not in luxury. Though I am sure the donkey tried, I couldn’t imagine the amount of blankets needed to cushion the ride. Mary and Joseph rose to the occasion, went on a journey, Mary gave birth in a barn (with only her husband to help), and still trusted that God was in control. Now picture the lowliest of people being the main witnesses to the miracle. During that time shepherds were not highly regarded. They slept with the sheep, didn’t shower much and probably didn’t talk to people hardly at all. These were the people the God chose to witness Christ’s birth. The shepherds, followed the star and saw the Savior, from that moment on a tradition was started. God chose to be with humble, he chose to show himself to the meek, and the not so powerful. He himself came from humble beginnings, learning to be a carpenter. Even when He should have shown His power and might He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey rather than a stallion.

Christmas morning brought cinnamon rolls that probably could of had another quadruple amount of gooiness, if my hubby had his way. It brought with it Tyler running into my room so excited to see what was under the tree, while the girls tried their hardest to get just a little more sleep. Before presents could be opened the pictures had to be taken and Tyler insisted on being the one to read the story of Christ’s birth to the family. Santa had come during the night and managed to bypass the sleeping child who snuck out of his room at some point to sleep on the couch. The stockings were filled, and Santa filled his belly once more. This year has definitely had it’s ups and downs, it hasn’t been easy, but when you know that you are not the one in control and that the one that is knows your struggles there is so much hope and joy. I know Christmas doesn’t mean the same to everyone, but for me it is where my joy starts and it flows from there. Living Joyfully is my way of remembering and encouraging the joy that is within so that I can send it out to share with others. With Christmas already here instead of wishing you a merry one, I will say go and find your joy. If you need a place to start or a person to show you the way, look at the book of Luke in the Bible and read chapters 1-24. Find your peace there, find joy and love too. Until next time:

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of t he Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you:  You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manager.
Luke 2:4-12

I Dare You To

I double dog dare you is the school yard taunt that makes the most rational kid do something they wouldn’t normally do, just to prove they aren’t afraid to do it. Even in the Christmas Story the triple dog dare that caused Flink’s tongue to get stuck to the flagpole was all because Flink didn’t want to look like a coward. To say “I Dare You” to someone causes this itch inside of them to prove you wrong that they can do what you dared them to do. If done the right way this could actually be a good thing, like the time I dared my son to clean his room faster than I could fold and put away the mountain of laundry I had on my bed. We turned on some lively music, playfully taunted each other as we worked and eventually got the chores done all the while having fun competing with each other, not to mention the winner got to get some ice cream.

Just recently a song came out from the band Mercy Me called “Say I Won’t”. In some versions of the song videos show different challenges that people overcame that they were told they never could. In a way they had been challenged by those around them to fail and they took it upo themeselves to proves the naysayers wrong. It is a song that was written to encourage perserverance and the willingness to push past the obstacles that were put before them.

As we look forward to Christmas this week, we can look to the obstacles that were placed in front of a young woman and her soon to be husband as they go forward as a couple with a very special miracle placed in their care. Picture a young woman, getting ready to be married to a young man. In the time frame she grew up in her main job as a married woman was to take care of the home and the children she will have. Her husband took care of taking care of the family by providing for them and being the spiritual leader in the home. This young lady had her world turned upside down when an angel came to her and said:

Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you amoung women!....Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  An behold, you will concieve in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus"
Luke 1: 28-31

I dare anyone to not be amazed by this, especially if they could picture this happening to them and responding the way Mary did by basically saying “your will be done Lord” This right here is one of the most miraculous miracles ever to be and every day we can live as if this miracle alone has changed the type of person we are. Just as in the song from Mercy Me, people were changed by circumstances that were sometimes out of their control, but because of those circumstances they overcame. They said “Say I Won’t” to the naysayers and then they did. Just as Mary had to go on with her life and the naysayers of her time to bring forth the Savior of the World, she did knowing that God was in control.

At the begining of December I was challenged to read through the book of Luke, a chapter a day for the month of December. It started with the birth of Christ and will end with His death and reserection days after Christmas is over. I took on this challenge for a few reasons, for one it gets me back in line with the One who is in control, two I was able to challenge my daughters to do it with me and be able to talk with them daily about what they learned, and third it helps me to remember the true reason for this season.

I love to dare people to do things when I know it will be beneficial for them. So you won’t see me daring one of my kids to stick their tongue to a flagpole during a freeze spell any time soon. But I have no problem daring someone to stop smoking. I wil dare someone to run a race with me. I will dare my kids to do something faster than me to show them they can do it. I will dare my husband to clean off the hope chest in our room by a certain date to help him get the gun he really wants. I will dare a coworker to dream big and go back to college to get her vet tech degree. I will dare a grieving mother to spred her son’s love by sending homemade cards to random people she knows, just because I know it will help her grieve better. I will dare my kids to be nice to each other. I will do all of these dares because I know in every one of these situations I will be there to do them with the person.

Sometimes people just need to know there is someone in their corner cheering them on and challenging them to do better. When I accepted Christ into my life many years ago, I gained that person. From that point on I didn’t have to rely on any one but Him and when He did put someone in my life to challenge me I knew it was out of HIs love for me that He did it. The world we live in is very challenging, it is scary and can be hard to comprehend. When we start to see that it is out of our control and is totally in His control we are able to find the joy and peace that comes with that knowlege. So though the month of December is almost over, I dare you to take a look at the gospel of Luke and read about Jesus’ story. I dare you to keep an open mind and heart as you do it, and find a way after to love someone the way Christ did and still does. Until next time enjoy the words from Mercy Me’s new song:

“Say I Won’t”

Today it all begins
I’m seeing my life for the very first time
Through a different lens
Yesterday
I didn’t understand
Driving 35 with the rocket inside
Didn’t know what I had

While I’ve been waiting to live
My life’s been waiting on me

I’m gonna run
No I’m gonna fly
I’m gonna know what it means to live
And not just be alive
The world’s gonna hear
Cause I’m gonna shout
And I will be dancing when circumstances drown the music out
Say I won’t

Not enough
Is what I’ve been told
But it must be a lie
Cause the Spirit inside says I’m so much more
So let them say what they want
Oh I dare them to try

I’m gonna run
No I’m gonna fly
I’m gonna know what it means to live
And not just be alive
The world’s gonna hear
Cause I’m gonna shout
And I will be dancing when circumstances drown the music out
Say I won’t
Say I won’t
Say I won’t
Say I won’t

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
So keep on saying I won’t
And I’ll keep proving you wrong

I’m gonna run
No I’m gonna fly
I’m gonna know what it means to live
And not just be alive
This world’s gonna hear
Cause I’m gonna shout
And I will be dancing when circumstances drown the music out
Say I won’t
Say I won’t
Say that I won’t
Oh say I won’t
Say I won’t

Just Keep Waiting

Oh my goodness….

My waiting started Friday, it was ok for Saturday and Sunday was a normal stay at home kind of day. Monday came and I was able to work from home which made waiting doable, until the unthinkable happened. Though I love hearing from this wonderful person, she called me Monday morning to tell me a beautiful soul went to be with the Lord. At that moment, nothing else mattered, the waiting didn’t matter, the working from home didn’t matter, the fact that I had just complained about being cold didn’t matter. What mattered was that my good friend (who is like a mom to me, in fact I call her momma Mary) and her family were mourning the loss of their son.

I can’t tell you when I first met David, Mary’s son only because he was part of the momma Mary package. I moved to this little town 18 years ago and have known Mary and David for 16 of those years. David accepted me as his sister from day one. Over the years David had his ups and downs with different illnesses he has had to endure, but they never seemed to stop his smile from shining through. David’s life wasn’t easy for him, and Mary and her husband Len gained quite a few grey hairs from the adventures he decided to go on, but that is what is important, he lived his life. I wanted to highlight David because he lived joyfully. He knew the Lord, he smiled often and he loved big. I can’t tell you how many times I felt my ribs would break because of how hard he hugged, but I wouldn’t trade those hugs for anything. He had a caring heart, he pushed through his struggles and made a name for himself doing photography and just recently publishing his first book Relic Power So It Begins. How often did I choose not to do something because it would be hard? I wish I could tell you it wasn’t often, but I would be lying.

When I look over the past years of knowing David he was courageous in what he chose to do. He pursued his passions and didn’t let people tell him he couldn’t do it. I want to be like him and I will work to do so. While waiting is not easy to do, especially when you are waiting on a test that will tell you if you have a virus and you don’t feel sick at all it is while in waiting that big things can happen. In the last few days of waiting I have been able to get stuff done around the house, though it doesn’t sound spectacular the things that were accomplished were on a “to do list” for a while. I was able to have good conversations with my kids and better understand what this “waiting” has done to them. I have been able to look at my normal routines and see that a change needs to be made. It has made me sit down at my computer to write out my needs, wants and future goals are. This waiting has also enabled me to sit, to read, to enjoy the normal hustle and bustle of family life at home. I am able to see what is important and plan for ways to keep what is important in the forefront of my life instead of on the back burner where it usually ends up.

To really live is a choice. To live Joyfully is a tougher choice. To have joy (not just happiness) means that through good times and bad you find your peace in what you believe. I believe that God cares for me and for those around me, I don’t live a perfect life, and there are things I still hold close that I don’t talk about with anyone other than God. Over the years my hubby and I made the choice to live our lives to the best our abilities. We have gone on trips, we have surprised our kids with even bigger trips, and we have done things (like skydiving) that most parents wait to do until their kids are grown. I have tried business ventures that have been successful and others that haven’t be quite as much. We as a family have taken chances and have set goals that we have met.

David touched a lot of lives with his smile, his charm, his ability to put others before himself and for that I am grateful. He made people better and want to be better. I am glad that I called him my brother and that he blessed my life, I hope that I can remember to smile like he did and hug like he did (when we can hug again). I am still waiting, waiting to hear the results of my test, but I will chose to enjoy the moments I have while waiting because I will be busy soon enough. Until next time:

Life is a game, play it; Life is a challenge, Meet it; Life is an opportunity, Capture it. ~ Unknown.

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